Health cabinet orders Planned Parenthood abortion clinic to cease and desist after operating without license

01/29/2016 06:08 PM

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services’s acting inspector general is ordering Planned Parenthood to cease operations at a newly opened abortion clinic in Louisville for offering the procedure without the proper licensing.

In a letter to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky dated Thursday, acting CHFS Inspector General Stephanie Hold said the cabinet found multiple deficiencies in the group’s application to run an abortion facility. Planned Parenthood submitted the application on Nov. 19, according to the letter, and began offering abortions Jan. 21.

Hold wrote that Planned Parenthood’s agreement with an acute care hospital is incomplete, in part because a hospital isn’t specifically identified in the document, and does not stipulate the unconditional acceptance of patients who suffer from unforeseen complications during abortions as required by state law. Instead, the transfer agreement between Planned Parenthood and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health provides that patient transfers depend on bed, staff and service availabilities, according to the letter.

Hold also found deficient Planned Parenthood’s agreement with a local ambulance service, saying the document misidentifies the facility’s address and does not include a specific acute care hospital for transport.

“The absence of adequate written agreements with an acute care hospital and a local ambulance service prevent us from continuing our review of your application at this time,” Hold wrote. “Therefore, this Office has determined that Planned Parenthood is not in compliance with standards for an abortion facility and is not authorized to provide abortion services.”

The cabinet will review PPINK’s application again once it submits updated paperwork, according to the letter. Disregarding the cabinet’s cease and desist letter could result in $1,000-per-day penalties.

PPINK did not respond to a request for comment, but PPINK Chief Operating Officer Suzannah Wilson Overholt said in a letter to Hold dated Friday that the organization would resubmit its hospital and ambulatory agreements and stop providing abortions at its Louisville clinic until permits are issued.

“As I hope our communications with your office reflect, we are committed to full compliance with all applicable licensing regulations, and began providing services only after receiving assurance from your office, in emails dated Dec. 1 and Dec. 7, that it would be appropriate while we awaited a survey,” Overholt wrote.

Hold’s letter can be viewed here: Planned Parenthood INKY CHFS letter.pdf

Download PPINK’s response here: Planned Parenthood INKY response.pdf

CHFS sent the initial correspondence on the same day that Insider Louisville reported PPINK would perform abortions for the first time in Kentucky at its new downtown Louisville clinic.

Gov. Matt Bevin, who earlier promised to “use the full force” of Kentucky to stop unlicensed abortions, praised the resolution while also signaling that PPINK may face further scrutiny from the administration.

“I am glad to report that Planned Parenthood in Louisville acknowledged it has no legal authority for its actions and has agreed to stop performing illegal abortions,” he said in a statement late Friday.

“This clinic brazenly set out to conduct abortions without a license in clear violation of Kentucky law. The Commonwealth acted swiftly to end these unlawful procedures, and we will continue to investigate the matter thoroughly.”

Planned Parenthood comes into the spotlight as the Republican-led Senate prepares to take up a bill that would limit funding for the organization, the subject of a series of undercover videos showing officials openly discussing prices that can be attained from fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has said the footage was heavily edited and, with the National Abortion Federation, sued the Center for Medical Progress.

Sen. Max Wise, the sponsor of Senate Bill 7, said he expects a floor vote on the legislation sometime next week. SB 7 would prevent state and local dollars from flowing to Planned Parenthood other than minimal amounts required to comply with Medicaid laws and create a three-tiered system for federal planning funds, with nonpublic groups like Planned Parenthood in the last tier for funding priority.

Planned Parenthood currently receives more than $331,000 in federal Title X family planning funds through its Lexington office, according to information previously provided by CHFS. State and federal laws prohibit funding abortions through public tax dollars.

Wise, R-Campbellsville, said he was initially disappointed after learning news of PPINK’s Louisville abortion clinic opening, but he sees it as an opportunity to build support for SB 7.

“I know I have a lot of constituents in my district and also across the commonwealth who’ve really now rallied the base, saying, ‘Do something about this,’” he said. “You’ve got taxpayer dollars going towards this. Let’s make a stand, and I think you’re going to see that in this particular bill, in Senate Bill 7.

“I think it’s going to now gain a whole lot more momentum. Talking to my colleagues down in the House, they’re extremely satisfied with finally getting Senate Bill 4, and I think they’re going to welcome Senate Bill 7 once we can get it out of the Senate floor.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.

TWEETS ABOUT KENTUCKY POLITICS