Wednesday will be a big day for Kentucky as a federal court considers whether to allow its leaders to close the last abortion clinic in the state.
Pro-life Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration said EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville 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.
The administration recently moved to take away the facility’s license until it does comply; however, the abortion clinic sued to block the state’s actions.
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. This is the same Planned Parenthood facility that Bevin’s administration caught doing abortions without a license in 2016.
Now, both abortion groups are suing the state. On Wednesday, a federal judge will hear the case, according to the Daily Caller.
The two abortion businesses are arguing that the state just wants to shut them down, and the regulations are not necessary because abortion complication rates are low. They say the regulations are unconstitutional because they restrict women’s access to abortion.
Here’s more from the AP:
The licensing fight began in March when Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration claimed the clinic lacked proper transfer agreements and took steps to shut it down. The clinic countered with a federal lawsuit to prevent the state from revoking its license. U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers blocked the clinic’s closure until the dispute could be heard at trial.
In its lawsuit, the clinic says it has had agreements with a hospital and an ambulance company on file with state regulators for years. The state’s abrupt “about-face” – finding the clinic non-compliant – came “out of the blue,” the lawsuit said.
Amanda Stamper, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the requirements help ensure the “proper life-saving procedures” are in place in case a woman needs them.
“The transfer agreements’ requirements in question – which were enacted in 1998 and not questioned for 19 years – are important measures for ensuring women have the proper life-saving procedures in place in the event of an emergency,” Stamper said.
Abortion activists responded by arguing that closing the last abortion clinic left in Kentucky would be “devastating” to women. If the federal court rules in favor of Kentucky, it could become the first state without an abortion clinic. Seven other states also currently have one abortion clinic left.
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.”