Federal judge strikes down abortion law

09/28/2018 07:51 PM

LOUISVILLE- A major development in the battle over Kentucky’s lone abortion clinic. The state law requiring Kentucky abortion facilities have written agreements with an ambulance service and hospital for patient care is void effective immediately.

US District Judge Greg Stivers struck down the law today in the Western District declaring it unconstitutional.

The fight between the Bevin Administration and EMW Women’s Surgical Center stems from 2017. Reproductive rights activist say Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, is weaponizing the 1998 state law requiring abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with an ambulance service and hospital in the event of a medical emergency at the clinic. EMW filed the suit last year—claiming Gov. Bevin was abusing the law in an attempt to force the clinic to close. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky joined in on the suit in support of the lone abortion clinic.

Elizabeth Kuhn, Bevin’s Communication Director, said the administration will be appealing the ruling of the judge. In a statement she said,

“We are disappointed that the Court would strike down a statute that protects the health and well-being of Kentucky women. This law has been on the books for over 20 years and its counterpart in Ohio has already been upheld by the Sixth Circuit.

We also disagree with the Court’s decision to award attorneys’ fees of $20,000 of Kentucky taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood due to a discovery dispute.

We plan to appeal and are confident that the Sixth Circuit will reverse this judgment.”

ACLU of Kentucky is celebrating the ruling.

“The court’s decision recognized the Kentucky law for what it is: an attack on women wrapped up in a bogus justification and pushed by politicians who’ve been transparent in their pursuit to ban abortion in the state of Kentucky,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project in a statement. “While today we celebrate a victory for women’s health, the fight continues at the state and federal level against the unprecedented attacks on women’s access to abortion.”

The ruling comes on the heels of another case about abortion rights in the state set to be heard in court November. The General Assembly passed House Bill 454 during the 2018 session.The law bans physicians from providing the abortion method known as dilation and evacuation, or “D&E”. The law would ban the method which involves removing the fetal and placental tissue with a combination of suction and instruments 11 weeks or later into the pregnancy.

The law is on hold while the hearing holds.

Eva McKend contributed to this story.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com



  • Raymond Hurst wrote on September 29, 2018 11:46 AM :

    All of this is nothing more than Lying Matt Bevin trying to get people to think he is doing something to stop abortion so they will vote Republican. Do Republicans not know that abortion will be legal until it is made illegal on a national level. And so far; Trump and the Republican Congress have done or attempted to do NOTHING to change the laws on it. NO legislation has been introduced by them to change it.

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