Kentucky's Lone Abortion Provider Sues State To Stay Open

by Abel Hampton April 5, 2017, 0:41
Kentucky's Lone Abortion Provider Sues State To Stay Open

Earlier this week it was reported that Kentucky's staunchly anti-abortion governor, Matt Bevin-who, along with his administration, has systematically dismantled the state's abortion services-is now hellbent on shuttering the state's one remaining abortion provider.

Kentucky threatened to revoke the license of EMW Women's Surgical Center, alleging that the clinic's agreements with a hospital and ambulance service contained technical deficiencies despite having approved the same agreements a year ago. The state approved these agreements previous year when it renewed EMW's license.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last week to stop the closure, and on Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order keeping the clinic open for now.

Bevin's office was claiming that the clinic failed to meet the state's requirement that "an abortion facility maintain agreements with a local hospital and ambulance company to transfer patients in the rare event of an emergency". The issue is that even though the hospital has signed an agreement with EMW, the state says the actual owner of the hospital must sign the agreement. Although less than 0.3 percent of abortion patients in the US require hospitalization on the same day due to complications with their procedures, some abortion providers are required to have agreements with hospital and ambulance services in case emergency medical care is needed.

The ACLU has called the attempted enforcement action "an attempt to ban abortion in Kentucky".

"What they appear to be saying is we have to go to the Catholics to get permission to do abortions", Cox told NBC News.

The law that Kentucky used to attempt to shut down the clinic - requiring the clinic to have business arrangements with a hospital - is very similar to Texas laws that the Supreme Court recently struck down in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt decision. An EMW clinic that performed abortions in Lexington closed its doors past year, and announced in January that it would not reopen.

Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in a statement that the cabinet was "surprised and disappointed" by the judge's order, and claimed it was granted "without input from the Cabinet and without first ascertaining the status of communications between both parties". Bevin said in February that the state is "in a position to lead this nation" in blocking access to abortion.

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