The ACLU just saved the last abortion clinic in Kentucky from closing


A federal court just handed down a temporary restraining order to to keep the only remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky from shuttering. The decision comes just one day after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking the closure. 

Gov. Matt Bevin's administration ordered the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville to be shut down earlier this month, arguing that the center lacked "proper agreements for patient care in the event of a medical emergency," according to the Courier-Journal

The requirement that abortion clinics essentially function as hospitals was the same one that threatened to close most of the 41 abortion clinics in Texas, and was eventually deemed unconstitutional in the Supreme Court's June Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt landmark ruling.

The ACLU made its case for the EMW Women's Surgical Center on the same grounds, stating in a press release that the nation's highest court has already decided Bevin's mandate serves no other purpose than to pose "real harm to women." 

EMW became the last abortion clinic when Bevin filed a lawsuit against the state's Planned Parenthood in February, claiming the facility had violated state law by performing abortions without a license.

Dylan Lovan/AP

Planned Parenthood representatives denied the allegations, maintaining that former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's cabinet had given the facility the green light to begin offering abortions and all other reproductive health services. 

Bevin nonetheless went on to ban the Planned Parenthood from providing abortions until it received admitting privileges to local hospitals — the same stipulations threatening EMW's closure. 

Had Bevin succeeded in shuttering the surgical center, attorney Don Cox said on Friday it would have had "devastating consequences" for women in Kentucky, whose ability to access an abortion would mean having to cross state lines. 

"While this is a relief, it is just the first victory in the legal battle," Cox. "We will continue to fight to ensure that women in Kentucky, and throughout the country, can get the care that they need."

March 31, 2017, 4:25 p.m.: This story has been updated.