NRL News

Kentucky Supreme Court upholds injunction against Lexington abortion clinic

by | Aug 25, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Kentucky Supreme Court

Kentucky Supreme Court

The Kentucky Supreme Court today decided one of two key issues at play in the request by Gov. Matt Bevin to temporarily close the EMW Women’s [abortion] Clinic located in Lexington.

The justices upheld the June decision by a unanimous Court of Appeals panel to reverse Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone’s decision to allow EMW-Lexington to remain open.

The temporary injunction “requires the facility to quit providing abortions until it gets a license from the state or until the lawsuit is resolved,” explained Morgan Watkins of the Courier-Journal.

The larger issue– that is, whether “EMW qualifies as an abortion facility and has been operating without the necessary license from the cabinet”—is yet to be decided.

As NRL News Today reported, the state sued the abortion clinic in early March. When Judge Scorsone ruled against Gov. Bevin, spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said, “The evidence at the hearing overwhelmingly showed that EMW-Lexington, which performed over 400 abortions in 2015 alone, is an abortion facility that is required to be licensed under Kentucky law.” The defendant “failed to meet its heavy burden of proving that it is entitled to an exemption from licensure as a ‘physician’s office.’ The proof was clear that EMW is not a physician’s office in that it admittedly does nothing but abortions,” she added.

Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin’s general counsel, told Judge Scorsone, “If this is not the sort of abortion facility the General Assembly intended to be regulated and licensed, I can’t imagine what is.”

The lawsuit said inspectors visited the clinic on February 17 where they reported that employees told them the clinic only performed abortions.

The inspectors noted “several unsafe and unsanitary conditions” during their visit, according to Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Those included multiple cuts in the tape covering the bottom portion of a procedure table that could breed bacteria; multiple expired medicines, or medicines that had no labels or expiration dates; and dust, dirt and grime on numerous plastic bags and a portable oxygen tank.

“Observation of the area for cleaning instruments revealed similarly filthy conditions,” the lawsuit says.

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