Trial Begins Today in Challenge of Safety Law that Should Close the Last Kentucky Abortion Business


By Cheryl Sullenger

Louisville, KY – The last abortion facility in Kentucky, EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, will be in Federal Court today to challenge part of a state law that requires abortion facilities to maintain transfer agreements with an ambulance company and a hospital.

Nothing less than patient safety and rule of law is at stake.

In 2014, EMW Women’s Surgical Center and the University of Louisville Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health entered into a hospital transfer agreement. Later, state officials notified EMW that the hospital representative that signed the agreement had no legal authority to do so.

EMW then noted that it had subsequently obtained the additional signature on the hospital agreement of University Medical Center’s President and CEO Ken Marshall, but “shortly after” signing the agreement, Marshall apparently had a change of heart. He contacted EMW and asked that they not submit the agreement as proof of regulatory compliance.

That left EMW without a valid hospital transfer agreement and in clear violation of licensing requirements.

Gov. Matthew G. Bevin and his administration issued a letter on March 13, 2017, to the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, informing them that they were in non-compliance and must close.

In response, EMW Women’s Surgical Center’s ACLU attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on March 29, 2017, claiming that the state order to shutter the facility violates EMW’s rights and would cause “drastic” consequences.

Using baseless scare tactics, the ACLU argued that women would self-abort, delay their abortions, or be “forced to carry to term against their will” should the state succeed in closing the last abortion facility in the state.

“This is a case where Gov. Bevin was simply attempting to enforce the law. The abortion business is acting like it has a Constitutional Right to break the law, or at least, have the laws they cannot comply with tossed out,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

In Kentucky and elsewhere, many abortionists have no transfer agreements or hospital privileges. They simply dump women experiencing medical emergencies from botched abortions onto hospital emergency rooms, which are often unprepared to handle complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist. This dangerously delays emergency care when moments can mean the difference between life and death.

If the state prevails, it will send a strong message that abortion businesses are not above the law.

If the court sides with the abortion business, it would place the lives of women facing abortion complications at greater risk and undermine the state’s ability to exercise oversight of abortion facilities in the interest of public safety.

In addition – barring additional appeals – a state victory would make Kentucky the nation’s first abortion-free state, cracking through a barrier that so far has been unassailable.

“It has been difficult to shut down the last remaining abortion facility in any state, no matter how dangerous it is,” said Newman. “It comes down to court rulings that have placed the so-called rights of abortion businesses above the health and safety of women. We pray this case will finally put the interests of patients and the rule of law ahead of the predatory and risky practices of non-compliant abortion facilities. If that happens, we may see the dominoes start to fall in other states as well.”

Currently there are six states, including Kentucky, with one remaining abortion facility.

The bench trial is set to begin at 9:00 a.m. today, September 5, 2017, before District Judge Greg N. Stivers at the Federal Court building in Louisville, Kentucky.

Related:
Abortion Free State? Kentucky Orders Last Abortion Business to Close, Prompting Lawsuit
Shoddy Kentucky Abortion Business are Not the Exception, but the Rule