Skip to main site content.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Federal case

Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic goes headlong into legal battle to keep its doors open

By WITW Staff on September 6, 2017

Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic is mounting a legal challenge in federal court against a state law that would force its closure and effectively make abortion illegal in the state.

The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville had been targeted under a state law that requires abortion clinics to contract with a local hospital and ambulance service in the event of an emergency. The state’s “unapologetically pro-life” governor, Matt Bevin, had told EMW in March that the state had determined the clinic’s longstanding agreements with a hospital and ambulance service to be insufficient and that the clinic would have to stop performing abortions by April 3. EMW filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against Bevin’s “blatantly unconstitutional move,” as lawyers representing the clinic argued that it was “absolutely just another attempt to ban abortion in Kentucky.”

In a similar case in Texas, the Supreme Court struck down a law that required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals because it caused “an undue burden on abortion access.” In a statement, Ernest Marshall, a doctor and EMW clinic founder, said that “the very right to access legal abortion in the state of Kentucky is on the line,” adding that in his 37 years as an abortion provider he had seen “more than dozen clinics close down” in the state.

“Will we build on the momentum of last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding abortion rights?” Marshall asked the AP. “Or will Kentucky be the harbinger of a future where the right to abortion only exists if you live in the right zip code?”

The legal battle began on Wednesday. “There will be no abortions in Kentucky if they win,” said clinic attorney Donald L. Cox at the outset of the hearing on Wednesday in federal court.

Read the full story at NBC News and The Associated Press.


South Carolina governor signs order targeting any doctors ‘associated’ with abortion

Texas governor signs ‘rape insurance bill’ to prevent all insurance plans from covering abortion

Amnesty International challenges Ireland’s abortion law in video with a twist