abortion

Rick Howlett

An anti-abortion group has dropped its challenge of a federal restraining order that keeps it from blocking the entrance to the only clinic still performing abortions in Kentucky.

Last week, a federal judge established a buffer zone to prevent protesters from assembling in front of Louisville’s EMW Women’s Surgical Center.

The group Operation Save America is holding anti-abortion protests at the clinic this week as part of its conference in Louisville.

Operation Save America had argued that the buffer zone was heavy handed and kept protesters from exercising their free-speech rights.

Lisa Gillespie

It was surprisingly quiet outside of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville Saturday.

Hundreds of anti-abortion activists were expected in front of Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic Saturday as far-right fundamentalist Christian group Operation Save America began its weeklong conference with the stated goal of shutting down the clinic. U.S. District Judge David Hale granted a temporary restraining order on Friday establishing a buffer zone around the clinic to keep protesters from blocking its entrance.

Kentucky’s last abortion clinic — EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville — is at the center of protests and public hearings that begin this week. Operation Save America, a far-right religious group, is coming to Louisville this weekend to kickoff a week-long conference.

In preparation, the city is holding a hearing Wednesday on creating a buffer zone that would limit anti-abortion protesters from coming into close contact with people going into the clinic.

WFPL

Ahead of a large planned protest outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Center downtown, the Metro Council will continue debating the creation of a buffer zone that would block protesters from coming into close contact with women entering for abortions and their escorts.

Other cities such as Chicago, Portland, San Francisco and Phoenix have buffer zones, which usually include an 8-to-15-foot zone protesters are barred from entering. Three cities have bubble zones, which include several feet of space around a clinic patient, provider or escort walking patients inside.

Creative Commons

A federal judge sounded skeptical of a new Indiana abortion law Tuesday while hearing a request to block parts of the law that will make it tougher for girls under age 18 to get an abortion without their parents' knowledge.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker heard arguments on a preliminary injunction being sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

The groups sued Indiana officials on May 18, seeking to block some provisions of the new law, and saying they would create "an unconstitutional undue burden on unemancipated minors."

Thinkstock

A federal judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to block a new Indiana law that makes it tougher for girls under age 18 to get an abortion without their parents' knowledge.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky say portions of the new law are unconstitutional.

A judge in Indianapolis will hear arguments Tuesday from Planned Parenthood's attorneys and attorneys for the state of Indiana.

Under current Indiana law, girls under 18 must either get their parents' consent to have an abortion or seek a judge's permission.

Flickr/Creative Commons

A judge has signed an order to keep Kentucky’s last abortion clinic open until a lawsuit aimed at preventing its closure is resolved.

U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers issued a preliminary injunction to keep EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville open pending the suit’s outcome. Stivers previously issued a restraining order to prevent the state from revoking EMW’s license.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Brigitte Amiri praised the judge’s action Monday but said doctors shouldn’t have to go to court to ensure they can provide care.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration agreed to renew EMW’s license until the lawsuit is resolved. The state told the clinic it was out of compliance with laws related to its agreements with a hospital and ambulance service.

Ashley Lopez

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has dropped its efforts to shut down Kentucky’s last abortion clinic pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit aimed at preventing its closure.

An agreement between lawyers for the Republican governor and the Louisville clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, has been submitted to U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers, who has not yet signed off on it.

As part of the agreement, Bevin’s administration agreed to renew EMW’s license until the federal suit is resolved.

Ashley Lopez

The last abortion provider in Kentucky will be allowed to stay open while it sues the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services for threatening to revoke its license. 

U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers temporarily halted the shutdown of EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, ordering the state to allow the clinic to continue operating.  Stivers wrote that the plaintiffs have a “strong likelihood of success” in their suit against the state.

EMW was scheduled to be shut down Monday after the state agency claimed the clinic’s agreements with a local hospital and ambulance service were deficient.  The plaintiffs argue that the clinic’s agreements are in order and that they should have been given a hearing about the revocation of its license.

They also say that the state’s actions were in retaliation to EMW’s challenge to Kentucky's new ultrasound abortion requirement, which is also pending in federal court.

Ashley Lopez

The last abortion provider in Kentucky is suing the state to stay open after Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration gave the clinic notice that it would be shut down.

According to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the state health cabinet gave notice to EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville on March 13 that the clinic was out of compliance with state regulations and that their license would be revoked within 10 days.

The clinic then got an extension until April 3.

The lawsuit claims that revoking the clinic’s license would have “drastic” effects on the state.

Kentucky's New Abortion Law Faces First Legal Test

Mar 23, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky's new law requiring doctors to perform an ultrasound exam before an abortion faces its first legal challenge Thursday in a federal courtroom.

A judge will hear arguments on whether to order a temporary halt to the law passed by the state's Republican-led Legislature and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin in January.

The law requires abortion providers to display and describe ultrasound images to pregnant women, though women can avert their eyes. The procedure also seeks to detect the fetal heartbeat, but women can ask that the volume of the heartbeat be reduced or turned off.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office is actively defending a new abortion rule recently signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin. The law requires doctors to show women seeking an abortion pictures of an ultrasound, and describe the images to the patient.

Governor Bevin has accused Beshear of breaking his promise to defend the ultrasound law.

It's the latest incident in an ongoing feud between the Republican Governor and the Democratic Attorney General. Some of the other diasagreements have been about the reorganization of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, as well as certain cuts to higher education funding Bevin proposed.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the state’s only abortion provider are suing the state over the ultrasound regulations. Beshear said the parties in the lawsuit are not named properly.

LRC Public Information

Lawmakers have given initial approval to a plan to “defund” Kentucky’s Planned Parenthood locations in Lexington and Louisville by putting the organization at the back of the line for federal family planning dollars.

Bill sponsor Sen. Max Wise said the organization had a “notorious history as an abortion provider” and said he filed the bill in reaction to undercover videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal organs — allegations denied by Planned Parenthood and later debunked.

“I come before you today thankfully more optimistic about the prospects of protecting unborn life than I was last year when the committee heard this similar bill,” Wise said.

Mary Meehan

Dona Wells walked through what’s left of the EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington, Kentucky. Boxes fill what use to be offices. Sterilized medical supplies are in disarray. A light flickers on and off in the back hallway. She doesn’t see a point in fixing it. At 75, she still runs 25 miles a week, but Wells is tired.

“I was going to retire anyway, probably this year,” she said. But I wanted to do it on my terms, not Gov. Bevin’s terms.”

That would be Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who recently signed two bills into law further restricting abortion services: one requiring an ultrasound as part of abortions and another prohibiting the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The final straw for Wells came in the form of a new license requirement from the state. Wells has been battling restrictive rules for most of the clinic’s 28 years, but the battle is over now. She’s closing the clinic.

Kentucky LRC

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for next month on a lawsuit seeking to block a new Kentucky law that requires doctors to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

The Courier-Journal reports that U.S. District Judge David Hale has set the hearing for Feb. 16. He'll hear arguments on whether he should order a temporary halt to the law passed by Kentucky legislators this month.

The measure took effect after Gov. Matt Bevin signed it into law. The new law also requires that abortion providers display and describe the ultrasound images to pregnant women, even if the women avert their eyes, which is permissible.

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