Kentucky’s Last Abortion Clinic Fights to Stay Open in Licensing Battle

Sep 7, 2017

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Lawyers representing Kentucky’s only abortion provider squared off against Gov. Matt Bevin’s legal team in federal court on Wednesday. The battle will determine if the state becomes the first in the nation without an abortion provider.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s lawyer told a federal court that if EMW Women’s Surgical Center is shut down, abortion seekers can go to surrounding states to get the procedure.

Listing cities like Cincinnati, Knoxville, St. Louis and Charleston, West Virginia, Steve Pitt claimed there is no place in Kentucky that is farther than 150 miles from an abortion provider outside of the state.

Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU lawyer representing the clinic, said Kentucky shouldn’t rely on other states to provide abortions.

“It doesn’t take into account all of the burdens that come into play in terms of travel distance," Amiri said. "No court has allowed a state to shirk its constitutional responsibilities by pointing to a neighboring state."

The Bevin administration tried to revoke the Louisville abortion provider’s license earlier this year, claiming the clinic didn’t have proper agreements with a hospital and ambulance service.

EMW is suing the state in federal court over the move, saying that the action would amount to an undue burden on Kentuckians seeking abortions. The trial is expected to last until at least Friday.