Judge halts shutdown of last Kentucky abortion clinic

Kentucky's Lone Abortion Provider Sues State To Stay Open

The battle over the last remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky comes amid a sustained flurry of state-level laws aimed at curbing the procedure.

The clinic then got an extension until April 3.

CNN reports a federal judge granted ACLU lawyers' request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of the EMW Women's Clinic in Louisville, the state's only abortion facility.

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. Last year, the state's health arm inspected and approved the center's agreements, and all three doctors at the abortion provider also have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, according to the lawsuit.

On Friday, however, the judge expressed concerns about due process of law in closing the clinic, and stated that the closure would mean the "rights of [the clinic's] patients would be immediately and irreparably harmed". "As a result of Defendant's actions, the only clinic providing abortion services in the Commonwealth of Kentucky would be forced to cease operations in a matter of days".

According to clinic's lawyers its licence for operating as an abortion facility was renewed in 2016 and valid until May of this year.

In its complaint, EMW said there were no previous issues with its hospital agreement, which has been unchanged since 2014, and its emergency services agreement, which has been virtually unchanged since 2009. "We are fighting to keep this from happening".

The ACLU and EMW have filed a separate lawsuit this year against the provisions, which is ongoing.

Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY) is hell-bent on making safe, legal abortion access a thing of the past in his state. The implication here, of course, is that the transfer agreement required by the state was made impossible by the state. The case is ongoing.

"That's not the way government works", the center's attorney Don Cox said.

The requirement that abortion clinics essentially function as hospitals was the same one that threatened to close most of the 41 abortion clinics in Texas, and was eventually deemed unconstitutional in the Supreme Court's June Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt landmark ruling.

"I think it is sort of the end game for all of this legislation that's being adopted around the country and that is to shut down all clinics that provide abortions", Cox said.