Dys said the state also should establish minimum standards for abortion clinic personnel. He said the facilities should have medical directors, and surgical assistants and volunteers with specialized training.
"These reasonable regulations simply work to ensure that, if surgical abortions are to remain legal, there is a modicum of accountability placed upon this invasive, outpatient surgical procedure," Dys said.
Abortion rights advocates say such measures -- including medical staffing mandates, and specific dimension requirements for rooms and hallways -- put unnecessary burdens on abortion clinics. Many clinics can't afford to remodel facilities or hire extra personnel with specialized training.
"All health care providers in this state should be held to high standards and regulations, and the fact is, they are," said Chapman Pomponio. "A political organization should not attempt to change the practice of medicine in West Virginia."
Earlier this year, Dys's group filed a lawsuit against Dr. Rodney Stephens and the Women's Health Center of West Virginia, one of two stand-alone abortion clinics in the state. Dys is representing Itai Gravely, a 27-year-old Charleston woman who alleges that Stephens performed an abortion on her, even though she asked the doctor to stop. The lawsuit also claims that Stephens left the fetus' head inside her uterus.
Stephens and the clinic have denied the allegations.
Morrisey seized on Dys' lawsuit, saying it "raises serious questions about how such clinics in West Virginia and inspected and reviewed to ensure patients are safe." Morrisey directed the Women's Health Center and a Kanawha City abortion clinic to answer questions about abortion procedures conducted at their facilities. The clinics declined to answer his specific questions, saying they were under no obligation to do so.
Chapman Pomponio said West Virginians are watching the "shenanigans of this attorney general closely." Up to 350 people are expected to attend the rally on Tuesday, the second day of August's legislative interim meetings.
"Our goal is to send a strong message that we won't let them play politics with a woman's health and safety," she said. "We embrace positive forward motion for West Virginia and want to show decision-makers that the voters of this state support them in their efforts to beat back this ugly, regressive agenda."
Dys said his group would not be organizing any kind of counter protest Tuesday.
"I'm not interested in protesting," he said. "What we need today is a serious discussion about this important issue, an issue that is having a serious -- sometimes devastating -- impact on the health and safety of our state's sisters and daughters."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.