Judge halts shutdown of last Kentucky abortion clinic

  • Judge halts shutdown of last Kentucky abortion clinic

Judge halts shutdown of last Kentucky abortion clinic

"The order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers follows a lawsuit by EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville seeking to block the state's effort to close the clinic over alleged deficiencies in its license", reports Deborah Yetter of The Courier-Journal.

In response to the order, EMW protested that the surgical center's agreements with these facilities hadn't changed in several years, and that they'd never been notified of any issues with these agreements before.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the center is out of compliance with state laws.

Doug Hogan, the cabinet's communications director, called the TRO "unnecessary", stating that the clinic's license was not in immediate peril.

Legal documents state that the clinic's hospital agreement has been in place since 2014 and it's ambulance services agreement since 2009. The state alleges the clinic signed agreements with a hospital and an ambulance service that contained technical deficiencies, but the suit says the state previous year renewed the center's medical license through May 31, 2017, and approved the same agreements.

The state's new finding that the agreements are deficient amounts to a "bureaucratic sleight of hand", said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

The newly Republican-controlled Kentucky legislature also recently passed bills banning abortions after 20 weeks (with no exceptions for rape or incest) and requiring doctors performing abortions to perform, show, and describe an ultrasound beforehand. Critics say the transfer agreements are ridiculous because hospitals would need to accept patients in need of their services regardless of what agreements are in place.

Kentucky's only remaining clinic that performs abortions is challenging a state order that would shut it down.

"The fundamental right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment includes the right to choose to have an abortion, subject to certain limitations", he asserted. "We are fighting to keep this from happening", Amiri said in a statement earlier this week.

"Governor Bevin's administration has made it clear that it won't stop until no woman in Kentucky can get an abortion if she needs one". Bevin said in February that the state is "in a position to lead this nation" in blocking access to abortion. The suit asks for an injunction to halt the state from shutting down the Louisville clinic.

"The state had inspected the clinic just previous year and renewed EMW's license", which was valid until May 2017, the ACLU said.