The last abortion clinic in Kentucky will remain open for now.
After a judge blocked pro-life Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration from closing the abortion clinic last week, lawyers for the governor said Thursday that the state will renew the abortion clinic’s license while the legal battle continues, according to the Associated Press.
Ultimately, however, state officials said they are confident that they will win the court battle against EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville, the only abortion facility in Kentucky.
Bevin’s administration moved to shut down the Louisville abortion facility several weeks ago, saying it is not adequately prepared to help patients if emergency complications arise. Officials said the facility is not in compliance with a state law that requires it to have hospital and ambulance service agreements for patient emergencies, WPSD News 6 reports.
The abortion clinic filed a lawsuit with the ACLU to challenge the administration’s actions, arguing that its hospital agreement has been the same for years and the state’s actions are a “politically motivated” attempt to restrict abortions.
U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers temporarily blocked the administration from closing the facility last week while the lawsuit proceeds to court.
Here’s more from the AP on the latest development:
The two sides on Thursday submitted their agreement to Stivers that would keep the clinic open pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
“The state never intended to shut down the EMW facility immediately, since it had the right to a due process hearing,” Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in a statement Friday.
Hogan said the state remains confident it will prevail when the lawsuit goes to trial.
“The cabinet is confident the statutory requirement for transfer agreements, which dates back to 1998 and has never been questioned by EMW for 19 years, is necessary to protect the health and welfare of women,” he said.
The clinic’s attorneys likened the state’s efforts to “politically motivated” compliance enforcement in other states that have sought to close abortion clinics.
Gov. 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.
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.
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.
At the time, 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.”