Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin Asks Appeals Court to Close Abortion Clinic Breaking State Law

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 5, 2016   |   10:23AM   |   Louisville, KY

Kentucky leaders are fight back against the abortion industry and its friends on the bench who continue to prioritize abortion access above patients’ health and safety.

On Monday, Gov. Matt Bevin asked the Kentucky Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court’s decision allowing a Lexington abortion clinic continue operating without a license, the Herald-Leader reports.

At the beginning of March, Bevin’s administration filed a lawsuit against the EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington after discovering that it was an abortion facility and the conditions inside were unsafe and unsanitary, according to the Courier Journal. EMW, which also runs an abortion clinic in Louisville, stopped doing abortions at its Lexington facility after the lawsuit was announced; however, a circuit court judge gave EMW the ok to start doing abortions again later in March.

Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone said in his decision that closing the abortion clinic would be against public interest because it is the only abortion facility in the eastern half of Kentucky, according to the Herald-Leader. He said the state also did not present adequate evidence against the abortion clinic.

The state wants the appellate court to reverse Scorsone’s ruling and block the Lexington facility from doing abortions until there is a final ruling on the licensure issue, the report states.

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The report explains more details about the case:

The state has said the clinic performed more than 400 abortions in 2015.

At issue is whether the clinic may operate as an unlicensed doctor’s office that performs abortions, as it has for many years, or whether it is a full abortion clinic that requires state licensing.

At last month’s circuit court hearing, clinic owner Ernest Marshall said the clinic used to do more regular gynecological health care, but its primary work has been providing abortions since his partner died a few years ago.

On Feb. 17, state inspectors with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services visited the clinic, where they reported that employees told them the clinic only performed abortions. Inspectors also found what they said were dirty conditions and expired medicine.

… Under Kentucky law, physicians’ offices that perform a variety of services do not have to be licensed separately to perform abortions. Abortion clinics also are required to have agreements with a local hospital and an ambulance service.

According to the state’s lawsuit, the Lexington abortion clinic tried to pass itself off as a physicians office, but state investigators discovered that it was only doing abortions and abortion-related procedures.

During the hearing in front of Scorsone, Steve Pitt, general counsel for Gov. Bevin’s office, pointed out that by Marshall’s own admissions, the EMW facility in Lexington is an abortion facility.

“If this is not the sort of abortion facility the General Assembly intended to be regulated and licensed, I can’t imagine what is,” Pitt said.

Scott White, the attorney representing EMW, has accused the state of “manufacturing” the lawsuit because of the governor’s pro-life position. He also said state officials have known about the Lexington abortion clinic for years and never took action against it. However, the reason for this could be because the previous governor, Steven Beshear, was pro-abortion. His administration also reportedly told Planned Parenthood that they could open a new abortion facility in Louisville without a license.

State investigators described finding numerous health and safety violations at the Lexington abortion clinic, including a “significant quantity” of expired medication, medical equipment covered in dust, dirt and grime; and improper sanitation. It also did not have emergency agreements with a local hospital and ambulance service, as required by law, according to the state’s lawsuit.

In February, the state also sued a new Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Louisville after catching it doing abortions without a license, LifeNews reported. Planned Parenthood’s lawyer contends that former pro-abortion Gov. Beshear’s administration gave the abortion facility the OK to do abortions without a license, and wants the lawsuit to be dismissed.

After announcing the first lawsuit filed against the Planned Parenthood facility, Gov. Bevin called out the abortion business for “callous and knowing violations of the law.”

“This administration will have no tolerance for the type of brazen disregard that Planned Parenthood has shown for both the safety of women and the rule of law,” Bevin continued. “We will hold Planned Parenthood accountable for knowingly endangering their patients by providing illegal abortions at a facility that was not properly licensed nor prepared to handle an emergency.”

Kentucky Right to Life President Margie Montgomery previously praised Gov. Bevin’s administration for taking action against Planned Parenthood. She said her pro-life organization will continue to work hard to offer women and their babies safe and loving alternatives to abortion.

“We are grateful to Governor Bevin and his administration for holding abortion providers in the commonwealth to established legal and medical standards. If Planned Parenthood in Louisville was performing illegal abortions without a license and subjecting women to grave risks by not having the hospital and ambulance transfer agreements, they should be held accountable,” Montgomery said.

“It appears to us that there was a rush to begin taking the lives of unborn children before the new administration was in place. Why else would the prior administration’s OIG allow Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky in Louisville to start performing abortions without an official license, or the required transfer agreements with local hospitals and ambulatory care. Officials in the prior administration entrusted with protecting the public health appear to have shirked their grave responsibilities when dealing with women’s health and innocent human lives” added Michael Janocik, Legislative Agent for the Kentucky pro-life group.