A federal judge stopped Kentucky from shutting down the state’s last abortion facility on Friday even though the state said the facility is not adequately prepared to help patients if emergency complications arise.
CNN reports a federal judge granted ACLU lawyers’ request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of the EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville, the state’s only abortion facility.
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, WPSD News 6 reports. State officials said they would revoke the abortion facility’s license unless it complied by April 3.
The abortion clinic filed a lawsuit with the ACLU earlier this week to challenge the administration’s actions, arguing that its hospital agreement has been the same since 2014 and the state has never had an issue with it before now.
U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers’ order blocks the administration from closing the facility. Stivers said by shutting down the abortion facility, “the rights of their patients would be immediately and irreparably harmed,” according to the Courier-Journal.
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Here’s more from CNN:
The order, which is valid for 14 days, cites due process concerns as well as evidence that the “rights of [the clinic’s] patients would be immediately and irreparably harmed” without the order.
Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney at ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said that the team representing Louisville-based EMW Women’s Surgical Center would set a briefing schedule this coming week to sort out the case’s next steps.
“We are thrilled and relieved that the court issued this order preventing the commonwealth of Kentucky from shutting down EMW,” she said. “This means that women will continue to be able to get the critical care that they need.”
By “critical care,” Amiri means having their unborn babies aborted.
Gov. Bevin’s administration has been cracking down on the abortion industry in Kentucky since he took office last year.
His 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.
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.