Kentucky's last abortion clinic heads to court to keep its doors open

Posted September 07, 2017

"In 37 years providing abortion, I've seen more than a dozen clinics close down in our state, and now ours is the last clinic standing in the entire state", Ernest Marshall, a doctor and EMW clinic founder, said in a statement.

The EMW Women's Surgical Center is suing the southern state for placing what it claims are unreasonably onerous safety requirements that threaten its ability to operate.

A federal trial that could lead to the closing of Kentucky's only abortion clinic is underway at Louisville's federal courthouse.

Arguing that there's no medical justification for the standards, the clinic is seeking a ruling that those requirements infringe on constitutional protections. Bevin is an openly and proud Christian, and there's nothing wrong with that, but failing to uphold one our nation's founding principles of separation of church and state is unacceptable.

The Supreme Court maintains that states must guarantee access to abortion, so shutting down every clinic operating within Kentucky would seem to defy this previous order. They said the facility is not in compliance with a state law that requires it to have hospital and ambulance service agreements for patient emergencies.

The state's lawyers took aim at claims the requirements aren't medically essential. Bevin's spokeswoman Amanda Stamper told the Associated Press on September 4 that the law in question in the EMW case is necessary and institutes "important measures for ensuring women have the proper life-saving procedures in place in the event of an emergency". "If this law is not struck down, access to safe, legal abortion for women in Kentucky will be virtually eliminated", McDonald-Mosley said.

In another twist, Bevin's administration added new requirements to transfer agreements amid the legal wrangling. A woman having to travel to another state for an abortion is definitely an undue burden. Seven other states also now have one abortion clinic left. The other lawsuit is challenging a new Kentucky law requiring doctors to conduct an ultrasound exam before an abortion, then try to show fetal images to the pregnant woman. IN and Kentucky's Planned Parenthoods also joined the lawsuit.

"We're going to keep on regardless of how the court rules", protester Leah Hankins said. Planned Parenthood argues that Bevin's administration has used the transfer agreements to block its requests for a license to provide abortions in Louisville.