Planned Parenthood

Jacob Ryan

A judge has dismissed Gov. Matt Bevin’s lawsuit that accused a Louisville Planned Parenthood facility of performing abortions without a license.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry ruled that the clinic had received approval from Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services days before Bevin took office.

“Based simply on a change in Cabinet personnel, it defies reason that an abortion facility which opened based on the approval of the Cabinet’s [Office of the Inspector General] may be then said to have willfully violated the law by that same Cabinet,” Perry wrote.

In its lawsuit, the Bevin administration alleged that Planned Parenthood’s required documentation of an emergency hospital and ambulance service were “a complete sham.”

Bevin’s office also alleged that Maryellen Mynear, the former inspector general of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, “ignored or overlooked” the allegedly deficient abortion license application.

The state said the previous administration erroneously told Planned Parenthood that abortion clinics could begin operations without a license.

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Kentucky’s restrictions on women seeking abortions and providers could be challenged now that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion law for putting an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to the procedure.

State law requires women to have “informed consent” meetings with a doctor 24 hours before the procedure and also requires abortion clinics to have a “transfer agreement” with an ambulance service to take patients to a hospital in case of a medical emergency.

Elizabeth Nash, an associate with the abortion rights group Guttmacher Institute, said the ruling opens the door for people to challenge abortion laws if they limit access.

“When there is evidence that shows the harms to women in accessing services, either because the restriction makes it more difficult to access abortion or because the clinic shuts down, then those burdens can be weighed against any sort of potential benefit the law may have,” she said.

The state legislature recently passed a law that revamped Kentucky’s “informed consent” policy — women are now required to have an in-person or video conference meeting with a doctor 24 hours prior to the procedure. Previously abortion-seekers could have the meeting over the phone.

Jacob Ryan, WFPL

The attorney hired to represent Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky in a lawsuit over abortion services says he’ll ask a judge to dismiss the case.

Speaking Friday for the first time on behalf of the Planned Parenthood branch, Louisville attorney Thomas Clay claims the suit is not based on facts.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services filed the lawsuit this week against the Planned Parenthood branch, seeking more than $900,000 in fines.

“There are a number of issues that are raised in this complaint and we intend to assert every lawful defense we can and pursue any other legal remedy that might be available,” Clay said.

State officials allege the health services provider violated state law after providing 23 abortions earlier this year without first having obtained a proper license.

Kentucky Agency Suing Planned Parenthood Over Abortions

Feb 18, 2016
Jacob Ryan

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration is asking a judge to penalize a Louisville Planned Parenthood facility for performing abortions without a valid license.

Bevin, a staunchly anti-abortion Republican, ordered abortions halted at the downtown facility after learning last month that it was performing the procedures. Planned Parenthood says it got approval from former Gov. Steve Beshear's administration, which left office in December.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services sued Thursday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, seeking up to nearly $700,000 in fines. The lawsuit says some materials submitted with Planned Parenthood's application were a "complete sham" and the cabinet's former inspector general was a "sympathetic advocate willing to ignore law."

Judi Morrison, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, says the group was reviewing the lawsuit Thursday afternoon.

Kentucky LRC

The state House is poised to take up a bill to defund Planned Parenthood this week, amid a rightward swing in Kentucky politics in which long-awaited legislation limiting abortion rights has already been signed into law.

The bill to divert funds from Planned Parenthood clinics in the state has already passed the Senate. A pro-life contingent in the Democratic-controlled House has already helped get the legislation a first reading; the bill needs three readings before a vote by the full House.

The state Senate on Tuesday approved the legislation, which would block Planned Parenthood from getting about $331,000 in federal Title X funding. The vote is largely symbolic; Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky announced last month that it would stop accepting Title X funds when it began providing abortion services in Louisville.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown, said he’ll continue to push the Democratic leadership to take up the bill.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s leader is hopeful the organization can soon resume providing abortions at its downtown Louisville clinic.

The Planned Parenthood chapter began providing abortions at the recently opened Louisville facility on Jan. 21, but Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration ordered it to cease providing abortion services on Friday. The administration said Planned Parenthood’s application for a license to perform abortions was deficient. The license was never formally issued.

What’s not immediately clear is what may happen if Planned Parenthood resolves the issues in the application indicated by the Bevin administration.

Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said the Planned Parenthood chapter will work to address the issues that Bevin administration has cited.

Ryland Barton

The state inspector general ordered the Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky to immediately cease providing abortion on Thursday, the same day the organization announced it had begun offering the services.

In a letter sent to LaToya Rose, director of the Planned Parenthood chapter, acting Inspector General Stephane Hold said that the organization’s application for an abortion license had been found “deficient.”

In Kentucky, abortion facilities are required to have an agreement with an acute care hospital and an ambulance service that can provide treatment for abortion patients who have complications during the procedure.

The inspector general said in the letter that Planned Parenthood’s documentation of an emergency hospital and ambulance service were inadequate.

“The absence of adequate written agreements with an acute care hospital and a local ambulance service prevent us from continuing our review of your application at this time,” the letter said.

Jacob Ryan, WFPL

Kentucky’s Republican nominee for governor is pledging to defund Planned Parenthood operations in the state if he’s elected.

Matt Bevin’s campaign issued a statement Wednesday saying he would order the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to stop distributing federal taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics in Lexington and Louisville.

Bevin said he would order the money returned to the federal government.

Politifact Sheet: Eight Things to Know About the Planned Parenthood Controversy

Planned Parenthood has come under fire from conservatives in recent weeks after an anti-abortion group released videos showing Planned Parenthood staff discussing aborted fetuses. The group behind the videos accuses Planned Parenthood of selling aborted fetuses for a profit, a charge Planned Parenthood strongly denies.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood says it’s a longtime provider of healthcare for low-income women.

In a statement from Planned Parenthood Indiana-Kentucky sent to WKU Public Radio Wednesday, the group said its two centers in Kentucky helped more than 4,700 patients last year.

“Banning federal funding for Planned Parenthood would have a devastating impact on women, men and families—especially those in medically underserved communities and with low incomes —for preventive care, including Pap tests, breast and testicular cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and annual wellness exams," said the statement from Planned Parenthood Indiana-Kentucky CEO Betty Cockrum.

The Kentucky and Indiana Planned Parenthood affiliates will merge next month, creating a new non-profit that will operate 28 centers across the two states.

It will be known as Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana.   The centers will offer services such as pregnancy tests, birth control, breast exams and Pap tests.

Planned Parenthood of Kentucky Chairwoman Kim Greene says the combined affiliate will have 190 employees at the centers and its administrative headquarters in Indianapolis, with a few job duplications in IT and finance.

“We have had to consolidate three of those sorts of positions, but other than that, there will be no other employee changes, employee losses.”

Greene says the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has made the merger necessary to more effective serve patients.

The merger becomes official on July 1st.