CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to hear what the public has to say about abortion laws and regulations.
Morrisey's office started soliciting public comments Wednesday amid the attorney general's ongoing review of abortion regulation. Morrisey said he's seeking comments about abortion in "West Virginia and elsewhere."
"Our goal is to rise above the name-calling and attacks and make this a thoughtful, civil process that focuses on the law and the facts," Morrisey said in a statement posted on his website.
The West Virginia ACLU and women's health advocates say that the review is a veiled attempt by Morrisey, an abortion opponent, to outlaw abortion in West Virginia. West Virginia has two stand-alone abortion clinics -- both located in Charleston.
"He's making a mockery of medicine and government," said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of West Virginia Free, an abortion rights group. "West Virginians don't deserve this overreach from their attorney general."
In his "call for comments" Wednesday, Morrisey said his office has completed a preliminary review, finding that West Virginia law doesn't require abortions to be performed by licensed doctors. Nor does state law set a "gestational age limit" -- a specific point during pregnancy in which an abortion is prohibited, Morrisey said.
State laws require only "informed consent" and "parental notification," he said.
"After a preliminary review, we are aware that few provisions of the West Virginia code govern abortions in the state," Morrisey said in his statement.
Like other states, West Virginia law requires women seeking abortion to undergo a 24-hour waiting period and for female minors' parents to be notified. West Virginia is one of 11 states that doesn't require a licensed doctor to perform an abortion, according to a Guttmacher Institute report on abortion laws released earlier this month.
In his request for public comments, Morrisey lists "relevant topics" that he wants "interested stakeholders" and the general public to comment on specifically. Those include:
* Educational materials gathered by "any other West Virginia government official" on abortion regulation.
* Gestational age limits and informed consent standards.
* Reasons why hospitals, physicians' offices, surgical facilities and abortion clinics face different "regulatory treatment."
* How West Virginia's abortion laws and regulations compare to those in other states.