NRL News

Kentucky agrees not to attempt to close last abortion clinic until lawsuit is resolved in court

by | Apr 11, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

The legal back-and-forth between Kentucky’s last abortion clinic and the state continues as the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin has agreed for the time being to drop efforts to close the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville.

The temporary restraining order U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers issued March 31 will remain in effect until the case is resolved. Judge Stivers scheduled a trial for Sept. 6 in Louisville.

Deborah Yetter of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported

Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which licenses abortion facilities, said the agreement represents an effort by the state to get the matter resolved quickly, noting “the court agreed to the cabinet’s request for an accelerated discovery and trial schedule.”

Further, Hogan said, “The state never intended to shut down the EMW facility immediately, since it had the right to a due process hearing.”

Hogan added, “The cabinet is confident the statutory requirement for transfer agreements, which dates back to 1998 and has never been questioned by EMW for 19 years, is necessary to protect the health and welfare of women.”

EMW attorney Donald L. Cox flatly disagreed, He told NBC News the clinic “has been properly licensed for decades” and “This is absolutely just another attempt to ban abortion in Kentucky.”

As NRL News Today has reported, at issue is the state requirement that abortion facilities “have written agreements with a licensed acute-care hospital treating patients and a written agreement with a licensed local ambulance service for the transport of an emergency patient and treatment of patients when hospitalization becomes necessary.”

In the letter sent by the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to the abortion clinic, Kentucky Inspector General Robert Silverthorn said the “Emergency Transfer Agreement” was deficient on four separate grounds. “Failure to cure these deficiencies will result in an immediate revocation of the Abortion Facility license,” the letter said.

Dated March 13, Silverthorn’s letter said the EMW Women’s Surgical Center would lose its license in 10 days. (CNN reported, “The Cabinet granted an extension until April 3.”) Judge Stivers then issued his TRO two days after EMW filed a federal lawsuit.

Beyond saying EMW is in compliance with the requirement, the lawsuit argues such agreements are unnecessary and should be struck down.

The state’s other abortion clinic, the EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington, closed effective January 27.

Categories: Abortion Clinic