The War on Abortion Continues in WV Federal Court


Sarah dos Santos, Staff Writer

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court passed the ruling for Roe v. Wade that enabled individuals to have a say in their own decision on whether or not to keep a fetus under any circumstance of impregnation. This ruling not only improved the safety of women during the procedure of an abortion, but it put an end to the deprivation of human rights that women were facing. Women did not have to live in fear for trying to access basic healthcare by taking drastic measures and placing themselves in jeopardy any longer. But, on June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned, setting history and women back 50 years. This decision has inevitably sent the United States into a rabbit hole of political turmoil that does not seem to be resolving itself any time soon. Additionally, many states are setting out to implement this law with even stricter policies. On January 5, 2023, GenBioPro, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the federal court of West Virginia challenging the constitutionality of the state’s banning of mifepristone, one of the two pills used to end pregnancies.

GenBioPro, Inc. is an organization that provides women with the resources for medical abortions. A medical abortion differs from a surgical abortion in that the latter, a woman’s placenta and fetus are removed by a surgeon whereas in the former the fetus is terminated by medication. Mifepristone, the pill used to bring about an abortion, has been FDA-approved and has shown to be safe and effective. This method, which serves as a non-invasive way for individuals to obtain an abortion, can be taken in the familiarity of one’s home, an option that protects women from the stigma that comes from getting an abortion. 

GenBioPro, Inc. spent almost a decade developing this pill, increasing safe medical abortions by 45% in the United States between 2017 and 2020. According to the lawsuit filed in the federal court in West Virginia by GenBioPro, Inc., “Congress subjected to a substantial and detailed federal regulatory program with [mifepristone]” which West Virginia officials have challenged and banned. The state’s banning of the pill fully discredits the validity of federal law by overriding carefully curated decisions made by the FDA. Not only is the ban morally wrong, but it violates the Constitution as well. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution are simultaneously violated by the restriction of allowing GenBioPro, Inc. to promote and sell its product. 

A ruling in the favor of West Virginia will set the ban immediately into effect, creating a precedent for other states. However, a ruling in favor of the company (GenBioPro, Inc.) would push for other states to allow the prescription and selling of the drug. There is no telling what side the outcome will lean towards in today’s climate, yet a ruling in favor of West Virginia would start a domino effect of state bans, depriving more than half of the women in the U.S. of this method of abortion. 

The outcome of this court case is said to be decided as early as February, but the ongoing conflict of abortion will continue to survive for a long time.  Abortion is not a concern of politics, but of human lives. No matter the political party or the religion that one affiliates with, the lives of women should not be questioned in this decision. Will these officials be able to place aside the divided differences between our people and look out for the safety and equality of their citizens? This question remains unanswered for the time being.