LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Latest on a federal court trial involving Kentucky’s last abortion clinic (all times local):
The operator of Kentucky’s last abortion clinic has testified at a trial that could determine whether his Louisville facility stays open.
Dr. Ernest Marshall opened EMW Women’s Surgical Center in the early 1980s. He testified Wednesday that his clinic is safe and offers quality care.
The clinic is embroiled in a licensing fight with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration.
Marshall says the transfer agreements at the center of his legal fight weren’t much of an issue until the last couple of years.
The clinic has been on the defensive since Bevin’s election in 2015. The socially conservative governor told a radio station Wednesday that abortion is a “sad commentary on us as a society.”
Attorneys for Kentucky’s last abortion clinic say state regulators are trying to shut it down by using “onerous” rules requiring the facility to have transfer agreements in case of emergencies.
Clinic attorney Donald Cox said Wednesday there will be no legal abortions in Kentucky if Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration wins the federal court case.
Testimony began Wednesday in the trial.
The state’s attorney, Steve Pitt, says states have a right to regulate abortion services to protect women’s health. He says Kentucky women would have to travel no more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) to abortion clinics in neighboring states if Kentucky’s last abortion facility closes.
The clinic’s attorneys say under such a scenario, some women would “take the matter into their own hands” and attempt to end their own pregnancies.
The trial revolves around a state law requiring the clinic to have agreements with a hospital and an ambulance service in case of emergencies.
The future of Kentucky’s last abortion clinic is at stake as a federal trial is set to begin over a lawsuit stemming from the state’s attempts to revoke the facility’s license.
The fight revolves around a state law requiring the clinic to have agreements with a hospital and an ambulance service in case of medical emergencies.
Lawyers for the state and clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, are set to present opening arguments Wednesday. The trial is expected to last at least three days.
ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri says what’s at stake is whether Kentucky becomes the first state where abortion is banned.
State regulators say the transfer agreements protect women’s health. The clinic says there’s no medical justification for them and they create an unconstitutional barrier to abortion.