Kentucky taxpayers must pay some of the Planned Parenthood abortion chain’s legal bills, a judge ordered Monday.
The ruling comes in the midst of an on-going legal battle between pro-life Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration and abortion businesses in the state. Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center are suing the state for refusing to grant them abortion clinic licenses; Bevin’s administration maintains that the facilities do not adequately meet basic health and safety requirements.
In the latest development, on Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin ordered the state to pay Planned Parenthood lawyers’ travel expenses and fees for an August hearing that no one from Bevin’s administration attended, the AP reports. The amount has not yet been determined.
“The Governor’s Office’s unresponsiveness to Planned Parenthood leading up to the scheduled deposition and delayed attempt at preventing the deposition through a protective order weigh in favor of granting Planned Parenthood’s request for sanctions,” Whalin wrote.
Amanda Stamper, spokeswoman for the governor, said they told Planned Parenthood in advance that they objected to the hearing and would not attend, according to the report.
“We had notified opposing counsel that the Governor’s Office would not agree to a deposition on the terms that opposing counsel proposed, and we gave at least a week’s notice that we would not be attending … ” Stamper said in a statement.
“In fact, we moved for a protective order in advance of the deposition date. Because the deposition of another witness was held on the same day, the plaintiffs’ attorneys should not have incurred any additional expense,” she continued.
Stamper said they are “surprised and disappointed” by the judge’s ruling, and they plan to appeal.
The [Planned Parenthood] lawyers were seeking to question Bevin or someone from his office about events surrounding his administration’s decision to deny Planned Parenthood a license to provide abortions.
But after some legal skirmishing, no one appeared from the Bevin administration after lawyers had traveled from San Francisco to conduct the deposition, which was rescheduled, the order said.
Whalin’s order said Bevin waited too long to object to the deposition and failed to “clearly communicate the intent not to appear.”
Bevin’s administration has been working aggressively to protect unborn babies and moms from the abortion industry.
His administration shut down a second EMW Women’s Center 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, the 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 lawyers 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 one of the key issues in the current lawsuit.
At the time of the initial findings, 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.”