Kentucky Claims Lax Enforcement Allowed Abortion Facilities to Ignore Safety Laws

WDRB 41 Louisville News

By Cheryl Sullenger

Louisville, KY – In a case of national importance, two Kentucky abortion facilities are in Federal Court in an attempt to argue that enforcement of state laws requiring hospital transfer agreements is a political and religious ploy to “make abortion illegal in Kentucky,” according to Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU attorney for EMW Women’s Center, the last active abortion facility in the state.

But Steve Pitt, an attorney who represents Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a pro-life supporter, insists that claim is simply untrue.

“There is absolutely no political or religious consideration here. This is a question of safety and health,” he said.

If the state is successful, it could close EMW’s Louisville abortion business, making Kentucky the first abortion-free state since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion in America and would be considered a huge victory for the pro-life movement.

State officials under Gov. Bevin claim that after Planned Parenthood in Louisville began conducting abortions without a license in December 2015, they began to realize that the hospital transfer agreement provision of the facility licensing law had never been properly enforced under previous administrations.

Pitt says the abortion businesses were given every opportunity to comply with the law.

As a result, EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington was closed and the Louisville Planned Parenthood was forced to halt abortions. The Louisville EMW Women’s Clinic was also ordered to close in March, but instead joined with Planned Parenthood in filing suit against the Bevin Administration.

“Most states are either not motivated or completely afraid to enforce laws that affect abortion facilities. Even when we catch them in the act of breaking the law and can prove it, enforcement remains our greatest challenge,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Gov. Matt Bevin has been a breath of fresh air that takes enforcement of Kentucky laws seriously. There are many states currently controlled by pro-life administrations that must find the courage to follow Kentucky’s lead and act swiftly to enforce state laws. Those facilities that cannot comply should not expect exemption from proper enforcement.”

Newman believes that if the state laws currently on the books were simply enforced, most abortion facilities in America would be forced to close.

The trial, which is in its third day of testimony, is expected to conclude today. Any ruling on the case is expected to take weeks or even months.

Related:

  • Trial Begins Today in Challenge of Safety Law that Should Close the Last Kentucky Abortion Business
  • Shoddy Kentucky Abortion Business are Not the Exception, but the Rule
  • 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

    Dangerous Delay: Kansas 2011 Abortion Clinic Licensing Law Languishes in Legal Limbo

    Gov. Brownback asked to look into delay tactics that are placing women at risk

    By Cheryl Sullenger

    Topeka, KS – Over 2 ½ years after its passage, a once, high-profile abortion clinic licensing law languishes in a Shawnee County Court all but forgotten while abortion clinics that could not or would not comply continue to operate well below standards that the law was supposed to establish for the public protection.

    “It appears that the State of Kansas has either inadvertently or intentionally forgotten about this important 2011 clinic licensing law that remains under a temporary restraining order in State Court. Meanwhile, women are denied the protections of this legislation that overwhelmingly passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “It seems wrong one county judge to completely thwart the legal process.”

    Efforts to create clinic licensing and standards date back at least to 2003 when then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the first of three efforts to pass laws that would hold abortion clinics, which had remained entirely unaccountable in the state for decades. Public support for such regulation was strong after documented evidence surfaced of massive abortion abuses that were taking place at Kansas abortion facilities. That evidence eventually led to the following actions:

    • Closure of Krishna Rajanna’s squalid Kansas City abortion clinic and the revocation of his medical license.
    • License revocation of abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus for providing incompetent abortion referrals to late-term abortionist George Tiller in Wichita.
    • The filing of a 30-count criminal case against late-term Tiller by former Attorney General Phill Kline that was dismissed on dubious jurisdictional grounds – not the merits of the case.
    • An 11-count disciplinary petition against Tiller involving illegal late-term abortions filed by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts that was pending at the time of his death.
    107 criminal counts against Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, which was dismissed not on the merits but on the fact that crucial evidence against Planned Parenthood was illegally destroyed by an unknown person or persons under the administration of former Attorney General Steve Six, a Sebelius appointee.

    The problem is a gap in oversight of Kansas clinic facilities and practices, which the 2011 law addressed. Currently, there is no direct oversight for abortion facilities in Kansas. While the Kansas Board of Healing Arts has oversight of physicians, it has little authority over abortion facilities. Filthy and unsafe conditions such as existed at Krishna Rajanna’s abortion mill in 2005, including blood-stained rugs in procedure rooms and inadequate instrument “sterilization” in a filthy, cluttered room next to an open toilet, flew under the accountability radar. When Operation Rescue bought the Central Women’s Services abortion clinic in Wichita in 2006, conditions were filthy and appallingly unsafe. A Kansas Department of Health official confirmed that no inspector had ever darkened the doorway of the roach and mold-infested facility.

    “I don’t believe semi-clean to be okay. I don’t believe it to be okay for poor women. I don’t believe it to be okay for rich women,” Republican State Sen. Garrett Love said at the time.

    The clinic licensing requirements that were to take effect on July 1, 2011, would have placed abortion facilities under the oversight of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and would have required abortion clinics to meet a wide range of standards from mandating that hallways are wide enough for a gurney to pass, to ensuring that abortionists – some of which fly in from other states to do abortions in Kansas – provide continuity of care in the event of emergencies by maintaining local hospital privileges. Mandatory inspections were required to obtain and maintain licensing.

    Of the three Kansas abortion clinics in operation at that time, only Planned Parenthood of Overland Park was inspected and found to meet all the licensing requirements after initially being found deficient in several areas.

    Another abortion clinic in Kansas City, Aid for Women, also known as Central Family Planning, failed to receive licensing based on its application and was never inspected. Operation Rescue later revealed documentation of numerous abortion abuses occurring at that clinic, including the refusal to report child sex abuse and the illegal dumping of private patient information and bloody refuse from abortions. That clinic currently remains under investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts based on information provided by Operation Rescue.

    Herbert Hodes and his daughter Tracy Nauser, a father-daughter team of abortionists from Overland Park that operate a third abortion clinic in Kansas, refused the mandatory inspection in 2011 and instead filed suit in Federal Court. Once it became obvious that their Federal challenge had little hope of success, Hodes and Nauser dropped that suit and refiled their challenge in state court where the benches where the political climate remains one that protects abortion businesses over the lives and safety of women. That case is Hodes v. Moser, Shawnee County Court Case Number 11C 001298.

    That strategy worked in favor of the abortion clinics, causing endless delays and eventually relegating the case to near oblivion. A temporary restraining order continues to block enforcement of the law and allows substandard clinics to continue without accountability.

    “The people of the state have every right to expect that laws like that should be aggressively defended, especially when it involves public safety issues. What is happening with this law I consider a betrayal of the people of Kansas and the rule of law,” said Newman.

    The last hearing took place over a year ago, in August, 2012, where a motion was made by Assistant Attorney General Steve McAllister to dismiss the case. Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis denied the motion, but stated that he believed that abortion clinics required some oversight.

    “Abortion was originally a back alley business and obviously we don’t want the back alley brought into four walls. There’s enough concern that somebody ought to keep an eye on it,” said Judge Theis stated at the time.

    Yet ironically, his ruling placed the case in limbo, with no further court action since that time, ensuring that abortion clinics in Kansas continue to operate without oversight.

    To make matters worse, in April, 2013, another abortion clinic opened in Wichita, at the former location of George Tiller’s infamous late-term abortion clinic. Unable to secure a local physician, South Wind Women’s Center has hired a string of out-of-state abortionists who fly in to Wichita then fly out, leaving women to cope with any complications on their own. None of the South Wind abortionists have had local hospital privileges.

    Adding to the frustration with Kansas’ apparent lack of motivation to actively defend the nearly three-year-old law is a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing a similar Texas law, passed just last summer, to remain in force pending a court challenge. On November 19, the nation’s Highest Court ruled 5-4 that the Texas law should not be enjoined, upholding an earlier ruling of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Like Kansas, The Texas law includes mandated local hospital privileges for abortion providers that most “fly-in” abortionists cannot get due to liability issues. That Supreme Court ruling has had the effect of closing a dozen Texas abortion clinics that could not meet the new safety standards and therefore posed a danger to the public.

    “In Kansas seems like the judicial system would rather risk women’s lives than take any action that might close an abortion clinic, no matter how dangerous its practices are,” said Newman. “It’s been a disappointment and an embarrassment at the same time. Political bias has no place in the courtroom. If a judge cannot move a case along in a timely manner, he should remove himself from the case. If prosecutors don’t want to prosecute, then they should be replaced with those that will do their duty,” said Newman.

    The Kansas law provides a severability clause, meaning that it is possible to allow parts of the law to go into effect while the contested portions are litigated. Newman believes that sections of the law that have already been upheld in courts in other states, such as the local hospital privilege requirement, should be allowed to go into effect now, especially in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has blocked and injunction against a nearly identical provision in Texas.

    “It only makes good sense to allow parts of the law that have already seen positive affirmation in other courts to take effect while the case is litigated,” said Newman. “It’s the right thing to do.”

    Certainly the dangerous conditions and lack of abortion clinic oversight that prompted the 2011 abortion clinic licensing law remain unchanged, and may in fact be worse. Operation Rescue has learned that the Attorney General’s office has made some attempt to lift the stay that is blocking the case from proceeding, but wonders why it took 16 months for even this minimal action.

    It is now up to Judge Thies to stop delaying the case and allow it to proceed. But even if Thies were to lift the stay now, the legal challenge could still take years and could very likely end up in the pro-abortion Kansas Supreme Court where the average appeal takes about 4 years.

    A solution might be for prosecutors to push to “fast track” the case, especially in light of the recent Texas decision.

    “If abortion clinics cannot comply with the law, as least 3 abortion clinics admit they cannot, they should rightfully be closed in the interest of public safety. We know that when abortion clinics close, the lives of women and their babies are saved, and saving lives is why this law is important,” said Newman. “Gov. Brownback should step in and personally monitor the defense of the 2011 abortion clinic licensing law to ensure that it’s being aggressively defended and working its way through the system in a timely manner.”

    Operation Rescue is asking the public to contact Gov. Sam Brownback and make him aware of this dangerous situation that is leaving women vulnerable to dangerous abortion conditions and practices.

    Contact Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback:
    Voice (Toll-Free): 877-579-6757
    E-Mail: Web Form

    Despite Licensing, Carhart’s Late-term Abortion Clinic Not Inspected Prior to Patient Death

    Germantown, Maryland – Germantown Reproductive Health Services, (GRHS) where late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart gave a patient a fatal 33-week abortion, was licensed by the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality last July, but was never inspected prior to licensing nor was it inspected as of the time of the patient death on February 7, 2013.

    “It is a wonder how the Office of Health Care Quality verified that Carhart’s high risk late-term abortion clinic met the qualifications for licensure if it never bothered to conduct an inspection,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “It is unbelievable that the State of Maryland would be so reckless after all the trouble it has had with illegal late-term abortion businesses being operated by the likes of Steven Brigham and James Pendergraft. It’s clear that the office dropped the ball.”

    It was Brigham’s case that prompted Maryland to require abortion clinic licensing.

    Brigham, a troubled New Jersey abortionist, was caught operating a secret and illegal late-term abortion mill in Elkton, Maryland in September, 2010. He and his associate, Nicola I. Riley of Utah were later charged with murder after a police raid of the facility discovered the remains of 35 late-term aborted babies, many viable, in a freezer. Those charges were dismissed after an expert witness for the prosecution withdrew from the case.

    Operation Rescue discovered in 2012 that the notorious Florida abortionist James S. Pendergraft IV was operating an illegal late-term abortion clinic in conjunction with Maryland abortionist Harold O. Alexander. Pendergraft had no medical license in Maryland and was on suspension at the time in Florida. Alexander’s medical license was suspended due in part to an Operation Rescue complaint.

    New abortion clinic licensing requirements went into effect in Maryland on July 23, 2012. Documents obtained by Operation Rescue show GRHS submitted an application for licensure July 24, 2012, and received licensure that same day.

    “An abortion clinic license application simply cannot be properly processed in just a few hours,” said Newman. “There was obviously no real effort to ensure clinic safety of compliance. That is a betrayal of the public trust that depends on governmental oversight agencies to protect the public from substandard practices.”

    Even though Code of Maryland Regulation 10.12.01.04 requires abortion clinics to submit to inspections, the clinic was not inspected before or after licensing and had not been inspected as of February 7 when Jennifer Morbelli, 29, died from complications to a third-trimester abortion that was done by Carhart at GRHS, an outpatient abortion facility that lacked affiliation or support of any hospital in Maryland.

    After Morbelli’s death, the Office of Health Care Quality confirmed that it was investigating the clinic, but no results of that investigation have yet been released.

    The GRHS license application indicates that it is accredited by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), a loose association of abortion clinics that have been found to be among the worst offenders of abortion laws and health and safety standards nationwide. The NAF routinely opposes clinic licensing and safety regulation laws.

    “We hope Maryland was not counting on NAF accreditation as proof of compliance with Maryland laws since NAF clinics are notorious for being among the worst in the country,” said Newman.

    Other NAF members have included:

    • Two shoddy Delaware clinics associated with Philadelphia, Kermit Gosnell, that were forced to close by the state.
    • A California abortion chain, Family Planning Associates, which is responsible for at least 11 patient deaths. At just one FPA facility in Bakersfield, there have been a reported three abortion-related medical emergencies in the past 5 months.
    • A Kansas abortion clinic, Central Family Planning, which is under investigation for illegal dumping of human remains and private patient medical information.
    • A Texas abortion chain, Whole Women’s Health, which was fined along with its disposal company $83,000 for illegal disposal of human remains.
    • Arizona abortionist Brian Finkel, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for raping and otherwise sexually abusing over 100 of his abortion patients.
    • A Wichita, Kansas, abortion clinic, Central Women’s Services, where filthy conditions, dangerous building code violations, and a roach infestation were discovered after Operation Rescue bought and close it in 2006.

    “The list of abuses by NAF abortion businesses goes on and on. If anything NAF accreditation should be a red flag to authorities that prompts very close inspection and oversight,” said Newman. “If GRHS had been properly inspected, would it have prevented the tragic death of Jennifer Morbelli? We may never know the answer to that question.”

    In related action, Operation Rescue filed a formal complaint with another oversight agency, the Maryland Board of Physicians, on February 20, 2013, and has asked for the immediate suspension of Carhart’s medical license until a full investigation and permanent disciplinary action can be completed.