A federal court case that got underway this week will determine whether or not the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Kentucky will be forced to close. The EMW Women’s Surgical Center has been under threat of closure since March, when state regulators planned to revoke the clinic’s license, stating that the clinic’s agreements with a hospital and ambulance service contained technical deficiencies. At that time, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and attorneys at the Louisville firm Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Goodman P.S.C. filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the closure of the clinic.
The ACLU notes that the law that Kentucky is using to attempt to shut down the clinic is very similar to Texas laws that the Supreme Court recently struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. As stated in the decision on that case: “Two provisions in a Texas law – requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requiring abortion clinics in the state to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center – place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and therefore violate the Constitution.”
The administration of Kentucky governor Matt Blevin shut down another EMW clinic in Lexington last year and sued a Planned Parenthood in Louisville, ultimately denying that facility a license to perform abortions. With the EMW Women’s Surgical Center now the state’s only option for women seeking an abortion, Kentucky joins six other states—North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Wyoming and West Virginia—with just one abortion clinic left.