Published: Sat, September 09, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Doctor says his Kentucky abortion clinic is safe

Doctor says his Kentucky abortion clinic is safe

Attorneys for Kentucky's last abortion clinic squared off with those for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin in federal court Wednesday. Activists say the actual intention is to make the barriers to operation for abortion providers so hard to clear that, in many cases, they are simply forced to close their doors.

But the case's significance goes beyond a debate about state law.

"The very right to access legal abortion in the state of Kentucky is on the line", Ernest Marshall, a doctor and EMW clinic founder, said in a statement.

The Bevin Administration's actions are just one of the numerous cases across the country of local and state governments using petty and obscure methods to try to shut down abortion clinics.

EMW and Planned Parenthood of IN and Kentucky, which also is involved IN the lawsuit, are arguing that the state just wants to shut them down, and the regulations are not necessary because abortion complication rates are low. U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers blocked the clinic's closure until the dispute could be heard at trial. He said his clinic was given days to resolve what regulators viewed as deficiencies in EMW's transfer agreements.

Clinic officials argued those impossible demands had no medical basis and would shut the clinic down.

ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri says what's at stake is whether Kentucky becomes the first state where abortion is banned.

EMW and Planned Parenthood are challenging state requirements that clinics providing abortions must have "transfer agreements" with a hospital and ambulance service. Some women travel across Kentucky to receive abortions at EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville.

The state's lawyers took aim at claims the requirements aren't medically essential.

"If this law is not struck down, access to safe, legal abortion for women in Kentucky will be virtually eliminated", McDonald-Mosley said.

Bevin, whose administration waged a licensing battle in 2016 that led to the shutdown of a Lexington clinic, argued the transfer agreements in question were meant to protect women.

The socially conservative governor said he's "not a proponent of killing unborn children".

"It is telling that the abortion industry believes that it alone should be exempt from these important safety measures", said Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper.

"They could just as well say everyone who wants an abortion has to wear a red handkerchief", Cox said. That includes having transfer agreements in place.

"In that regard, that would be somewhat historic", Rusty Thomas, a religious leader and head of the anti-abortion group Operation Save America, told AFP. Kentucky is among seven US states with just one clinic left.

EMW attorneys claim the governor is trying to regulate out abortion.

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