Kentucky could become the first state without legal abortion clinics if a court battle swings in the direction of the pro-life governor on Wednesday.
The case will determine whether the state will force Kentucky’s last abortion clinic to close its doors because it allegedly violates a state law that requires EMW Women’s Surgical Centers to have valid contracts with a nearby hospital in case something goes wrong during an abortion procedure and the woman needs immediate emergency care, according to the Associated Press.
“Kentucky literally stands on the verge of making redemptive history,” said Rusty Thomas, the director of Operation Save America, according to Western Journalism. “It could be the first surgically abortion-free state in the United States of America.”
The legal battle started in March after Gov. Matt Bevin said the state’s last clinic didn’t have the required transfer agreements and tried to close it. The state argued that the clinic lacked “important safeguards” necessary in protecting women’s health.
“[The requirements] are important measures for ensuring women have the proper life-saving procedures in place in the event of an emergency,” said Bevin’s spokeswoman Amanda Stamper. “Essentially all health-care facilities in Kentucky are required to have such agreements, and it is telling that the abortion industry believes that it alone should be exempt.”
The clinic disagreed and filed a federal lawsuit to keep their license. Indiana and Kentucky’s Planned Parenthoods also joined the lawsuit. They said the regulation requirements didn’t have any medical justification and were simply an attempt to block women’s access to abortion. The requirements have one purpose: “to give the state an excuse to prohibit abortions,” according to clinic attorney Donald L. Cox.
The Supreme Court maintains that states must guarantee access to abortion, so shutting down every clinic operating within Kentucky would seem to defy this previous order.
“The stakes in this case couldn’t be higher: the very right to access legal abortion in the state of Kentucky is on the line,” said the clinic’s founder, Dr. Ernest Marshall.
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