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A federal judge has struck down a state law requiring Kentucky abortion clinics to have written agreements with an ambulance service and hospital for emergencies — rules the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin had used to try to close the state’s only abortion clinic.
Friday’s decision is a victory for abortion-rights supporters who had clashed with the administration of Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican, over rules they said his administration misused to try to close one clinic in Louisville and block another from offering abortions.
Above all, it’s a victory for women, said lawyer Don Cox, who represented EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the state’s only abortion provider, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.
EMW challenged the state law alongside Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
“From the standpoint of women, this represents the best protection of their rights that we can get in these times when we see the federal government doing all it can and the state government doing all it can to limit a woman’s right to make her own choices,” Cox said.
Cox also said the ruling stops what he called Bevin’s “abuse of power.”
“The judge blew the whistle on the governor,” he said.
Bevin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said the administration is disappointed with the ruling and plans to appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which she said already has upheld a similar law in Ohio.
“We are disappointed that the court would strike down a statute that protects the health and well-being of Kentucky women,” Kuhn said in an email.
But Kim Greene, board chair of the regional Planned Parenthood, hailed the decision.
“The court today ruled that the state may not erect artificial barriers to safe and legal abortion services in Kentucky,” she said. “We are thrilled that women in Kentucky who need this medical service will be able to access it here. We look forward to helping those women.”
In a separate order, the judge ruled the Bevin administration must pay about $20,000 in costs for Planned Parenthood after it claimed no one from the governor’s office showed up for a deposition in the case last year.
Kuhn said the administration is not happy with that order, either.
“We also disagree with the court’s decision to award attorneys’ fees of $20,000 of Kentucky taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood due to a discovery dispute,” she said.
Friday’s decision is the second setback on a state abortion law for the Bevin administration. A federal judge last year struck down a different state law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and attempt to show them and describe them to the patient.
Bevin is the biggest conservative asshole governor outside of LePage in Maine. I love his being taken down a notch.
". . . those who claim to know the Mind of God, who will tell you what God thinks and how He will judge and condemn others—those people are the greatest of all blasphemers." Aloysius Xingu Leng Pendergast
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