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W.Va. group seeks oversight of abortion industry

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm •  Published: July 22, 2013

Delegate John O'Neal, R-Raleigh, said the lawsuit, along with the case of a Philadelphia physician who was sentenced in May to life in prison for killing live babies at his abortion clinic, has brought the issue of regulation to the forefront.

"We've got to do something about this," said Delegate John O'Neal, R-Raleigh. "We have to believe abortions clinics should be regulated like any other surgical facility. So much of this will depend on the leadership in the Legislature. Will the leadership embrace this movement?"

House of Delegates Health chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said it would be premature to address the practices of abortion clinics because numerous questions must be answered first.

"I don't have enough information to make an informed judgment," Perdue said.

Dr. Ron Stollings, a Boone County physician and chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Resources committee, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that advances sexual and reproductive health and rights, West Virginia is one of 11 states that doesn't require a doctor to be licensed when performing an abortion.

Last month, Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he is investigating whether any regulatory changes are needed. He asked the two clinics to answer a series of questions about their practices and their policies for ensuring patient safety. Both of the clinics declined to answer.

Morrisey also has asked the public to comment on general health care regulation and abortion regulation. A notice on the attorney general's website says that state code only requires informed consent and parental notification. There aren't any laws requiring licensed physicians to perform abortions or limiting the gestational age when an abortion may be performed.