Planned Parenthood Clinic in Kentucky to Resume Abortions

February 1, 2020 Updated: February 2, 2020

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Louisville, Kentucky, is set to resume abortion services in March after it received a provisional license from the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) announced on Jan. 31 that abortions will resume at the clinic, which had halted the procedures in 2016 when the state’s former governor previously denied their application for a license to operate.

The group says the license will make the Louisville Health Center the second abortion provider in the state. Currently, the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville is the only site where abortions can be performed.

The granting of the license comes after the current administration of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear told PPINK in a Jan. 3 letter that the organization hadn’t violated any state laws and was free to reapply for a license.

The administration of former Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, refused to issue a license to PPINK to operate its Louisville clinic in August 2019, citing state violations because the site wasn’t properly licensed as an abortion facility between Dec. 3, 2015, and Jan. 28, 2016. During that time, the clinic performed 23 abortions, the letter said (pdf).

That denial came amid an ongoing federal court battle between PPINK and Bevin over the license the organization has been trying to obtain since 2015. Bevin’s administration sued the organization, alleging that the 23 abortions during 2015 and 2016 were performed illegally and that PPINK had tried to rush the license application during the final days of the administration of Bevin’s predecessor, former Gov. Steve Beshear.

The organization has denied wrongdoing, according to media reports at the time.

Andy Beshear, who is the son of Steve Beshear, was elected in November 2019.

Christine Charbonneau, CEO of PPINK, welcomed the news, saying that “all people in Kentucky deserve to make their own pregnancy decisions and to have access to safe and legal abortion.”

Abortion access has been a topic of national dialogue, as many state legislatures have enacted or are beginning to enact or defend their enacted laws in court to limit abortions. These states are hoping the lawsuits might be a vehicle to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s access to abortion. While so-called heartbeat bills, which make abortions illegal as soon as a fetal or embryonic heartbeat can be detected, have been enacted in several states, some have been invalidated by courts.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case regarding state laws that put restrictions on abortions. That case asks the court to decide whether an unconstitutional burden has been placed on women seeking abortions, after Louisiana passed a law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure was taking place.

The nation’s abortion rate fell 26 percent between 2005 and 2015 for women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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