The last abortion clinic in Kentucky launched a legal battle against the state this week after government officials said they may close it, citing a lack of adequate patient safety measures.
WPSD News 6 reports the American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that it filed a lawsuit on behalf of the EMW Women’s Clinic, an abortion facility in Louisville, to challenge the state’s actions.
Earlier this month, pro-life Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration said the Louisville abortion facility does not adequately meet a state law that requires it to have hospital and ambulance service agreements for patient emergencies, according to the report. State officials said they could revoke the abortion facility’s license and shut down the abortion practice unless it complies.
Bevin’s administration shut down another EMW abortion facility in Lexington last year after state officials caught it masquerading as a doctor’s office and performing abortions without a license. State health investigators also found unsanitary conditions inside the facility, according to the Courier Journal.
Here’s more from the Courier-Journal about the latest dispute:
The dispute with the state involves “transfer agreements” that state law requires abortion clinics to have with hospitals and ambulance services should a medical emergency arise for a patient.
Inspector General Robert Silverthorn, who oversees such licenses for the cabinet, said in the letter to EMW that its transfer agreements are deficient and don’t adequately protect patients.
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The state’s new finding that the agreements are deficient amounts to a “bureaucratic sleight of hand,” said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “This is an attempt to ban abortion in Kentucky, plain and simple. We are fighting to keep this from happening.”
Silverthorn, in similar findings to the enforcement action against EMW, last year rejected Planned Parenthood’s transfer agreements as deficient because the clinic had agreements with hospitals in Southern Indiana and Lexington. The cabinet argued one was out of state and the other, in Lexington, was too far away.
Bevin’s administration has been cracking down on the abortion industry in Kentucky since he became governor.
In February 2016, his administration also sued a new Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Louisville after catching it performing 23 abortions without a license, LifeNews reported. Planned Parenthood’s lawyer contended that former pro-abortion Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration gave the abortion facility the OK to do abortions without a license, and wanted the lawsuit to be dismissed.
At the time, 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.”
The Planned Parenthood facility has not performed abortions since then. Disputes about its license and transfer agreements for patient emergencies are pending, according to the report.