Kentucky leaders have been cracking down on abortion clinics in the state in the past several years, closing two abortion facilities that were performing abortions without licenses.
One abortion facility is left in the state, and state officials say it is not adequately prepared for patient emergency situations.
But abortion activists are fighting back. The last abortion facility, EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville, filed a lawsuit earlier this year to block the state from closing it, and this week, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed a motion to join the lawsuit, USA Today reports.
Gov. Matt Bevin has said that he is “unapologetically pro-life,” and abortion groups are accusing his administration of trying to “make abortion unavailable in the commonwealth.”
Bevin’s administration moved to close the Louisville abortion facility earlier this year, but the state later agreed to hold off until a lawsuit filed by EMW goes to trial.
State officials said the Louisville abortion clinic is not adequately prepared to help patients if emergency complications arise. They 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 state also has not granted an abortion clinic license to a new Planned Parenthood in Louisville, arguing that it also does not have adequate emergency services agreements in place, the report states. This is the same Planned Parenthood facility that Bevin’s administration caught doing abortions without a license last year.
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Abortion activists claim the hospital and emergency services agreements are burdensome and unnecessary in their lawsuit, but state spokesman Doug Hogan told USA Today that these regulations help protect women’s lives.
“The Bevin administration is working diligently to protect the health, welfare and lives of women in Kentucky,” Hogan said, noting that the regulations have been in place since 1998.
Abortion activists responded by arguing that closing the last abortion clinic left in Kentucky would be “devastating” to women. EMW and Planned Parenthood also claim their hospital and ambulance agreements do comply with the law, according to the report.
Gov. Bevin’s administration has been working aggressively to close abortion facilities that do not comply with the law.
Last year, it shut down another EMW abortion facility in Lexington 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. The state had to go through a legal battle before it could close the facility.
In February 2016, Bevin’s 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 while the state processed its license application, 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 on-going.