Kentucky's last abortion clinic in Louisville is now deep into a legal battle to stay open after Gov. Matt Bevin ordered it closed earlier this week due to state TRAP laws passed during the General Assembly session earlier this year. Should the lawsuit against the state fail, Kentucky would become the first US state with zero abortion access.
Gov. Matt Bevin's administration is seeking to shut down Kentucky's only abortion provider, prompting a federal lawsuit by the clinic to block the move it says would have “a devastating impact on women.”
Bevin’s administration has ordered the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville to stop providing abortions starting Monday, claiming it lacks proper agreements for patient care in the event of a medical emergency.
EMW's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville, calls the order "blatantly unconstitutional" and asks a federal judge to bar the Bevin administration from revoking the EMW clinic's license.
"They've made it clear they won't stop until no woman can get an abortion in Kentucky," said Donald L. Cox, a lawyer for EMW. "It's just an attempt to ban abortion in Kentucky."
The state's announcement in a March 13 letter that it is revoking the license makes the EMW clinic the latest enforcement target of the administration of Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican who has called himself an “unapologetically pro-life individual.”
Over the past year, the Bevin administration has blocked abortions at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky's Louisville clinic and at an EMW clinic in Lexington over licensure disputes, leaving EMW’s downtown Louisville clinic as Kentucky’s sole abortion provider.
Officials with the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which licenses abortion clinics, has argued its actions are based on patient safety.
But EMW, joined in its lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said the clinic already complies with the law and says that if the state succeeds in forcing it to close, “abortion will be effectively banned in the commonwealth.”
This is the first major TRAP law legal test in the Trump era, and once again for those of you playing at home, TRAP stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, swamping clinics with burdensome regulations and laws that make it impossible for clinics to stay open in the name of "patient safety". So far the courts have stopped red states short of getting rid of their last provider, but that was before the Trump regime assumed control of the Justice Department.
Now there's a very real possibility that nationwide TRAP laws could be passed, even for blue states. As it is, abortion clinics are being closed too in states like California because of economic reasons.
Still, Kentucky's last clinic is, for now, remaining open. For how long, is anyone's guess.