07 September, 2017
The number of abortion-restricting state laws has skyrocketed in the last seven years, according to the institute, and the number of clinics has dwindled to where seven states - including Kentucky - have only one each.
Kentucky's "unapologetically pro-life" governor and the state's last abortion clinic will square off on Wednesday in a federal courtroom in a case that could make it the first US state without an abortion provider.
On Wednesday morning, attorneys for the governor, the EMW Women's Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood began to hash it out in court.
The clinic, which earlier this year filed suit to stop the state from revoking its license, wants to overturn the regulations it says are unnecessary and create an unconstitutional barrier to abortion.
Planned Parenthood of IN and Kentucky joined the suit because it said the same transfer agreements were used to block a license for a facility IN Louisville.
State officials have denied trying to shut down the clinic. The state's abrupt "about-face" - finding the clinic non-compliant - came "out of the blue", the lawsuit said. Clinic attorney Donald L. Cox said the requirements have one goal: "to give the state an excuse to prohibit abortions".
EMW and Planned Parenthood are challenging state requirements that clinics providing abortions must have "transfer agreements" with a hospital and ambulance service.
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The state's lawyers took aim at claims the requirements aren't medically essential. Critics said the changes were meant to make it harder to get a state license for abortions. Bevin's spokeswoman Amanda Stamper told the Associated Press on September 4 that the law in question in the EMW case is necessary and institutes "important measures for ensuring women have the proper life-saving procedures in place in the event of an emergency".
The group rallying says that would endanger women's health. IN and Kentucky's Planned Parenthoods also joined the lawsuit.
EMW's legal team believes the case "falls squarely" within a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Texas regulations that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet certain standards for outpatient surgery.
We will be there as it plays out in court.
The case centers around the question of whether it is reasonable for the government of the southern state to demand an abortion provider be connected to a hospital in case of emergency.
The state claims it is guarding patient safety and women would still have access to abortions should the clinic be forced to close.