FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday reversed a judge from Jefferson County and ruled in favor of the Bevin administration in an important case regarding the health and safety of women in the Commonwealth.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services filed a lawsuit last year against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc., after its Louisville facility unlawfully performed nearly two dozen abortions in December 2015 and January 2016 without a license. The Jefferson Circuit Court preemptively ruled that the Administration’s suit was without merit.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals unanimously disagreed, ruling that the Cabinet can continue to pursue its claims for monetary penalties against Planned Parenthood.
“We applaud today’s Court of Appeals ruling allowing this important case to proceed,” said Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin's general counsel. “The facts are clear and alarming: Between Dec. 3, 2015 and Jan. 28, 2016, Planned Parenthood’s Louisville facility performed 23 abortions without proper licensing or emergency safeguards in place. This disregard for both the safety of women and the rule of law is simply unacceptable, and Planned Parenthood must be held accountable.”
Between Dec. 3, 2015 and Jan. 28, 2016, when the Cabinet first learned that Planned Parenthood had been operating an unlicensed abortion facility without hospital and ambulance transfer agreements, Planned Parenthood performed 23 abortions, placing its patients’ health and safety at an extreme risk.
The Cabinet said that an abortion clinic is a health facility and it is illegal to operate a health facility without first obtaining a license from the Cabinet. Abortion facilities must enter into written agreements with a hospital and local ambulance service to transfer abortion facility patients should complications occur.
Bevin's lawyers sued Planned Parenthood, seeking fines of more than $500,000 for 23 abortions provided at the clinic.
Planned Parenthood had sought the license last in 2015 from the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear and produced documentation from state officials directing Planned Parenthood to open the clinic and begin providing all services, including abortions, so it could be inspected and be granted a license.
Officials with the Beshear administration told Planned Parenthood its licensing application was complete and fulfilled requirements.
However, the license had not yet been issued when Bevin became governor in December. His administration ordered the clinic to stop providing abortions and said the license application was deficient.
The three-judge panel ruled that while the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services "may have a difficult time proving its allegations we believe said allegations are sufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
The ruling sends the case back to the lower court.
Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.