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Kentucky governor sues Planned Parenthood for performing illegal abortions

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Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. The state is seeking the maximum fines against Planned Parenthood for operating an unlicensed abortion facility, performing 23 abortions, and endangering women’s health during that time.

Bevin’s office says:

Between December 3, 2015, and January 28, 2016, when the Cabinet learned Planned Parenthood had been operating an unlicensed abortion facility without hospital and ambulance transfer agreements, Planned Parenthood performed twenty-three (23) abortions, placing its patients at extreme risk to their health, safety, and lives had an emergency occurred. Because of its blatant violations of law, Planned Parenthood should be required to pay fines in the maximum amount allowed by law in order to punish it for its callous and knowing violations of law and to deter it and others from such violations in the future.

Bevin ordered the facility closed in January and sent a cease and desist letter to Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Matt Bevin (KY), (Photo credit Ky.gov)

Gov. Matt Bevin (KY), (Photo credit Ky.gov)

The abortion facility rushed to open by using false documents, Gov. Bevin’s office asserts:

Attached to Planned Parenthood’s license application were purported “transfer agreements,” which are essential prerequisites for a license. Transfer agreements are not only essential for obtaining a license, but they are also essential for ensuring the safety of patients. Despite the importance of these agreements, the documents submitted by Planned Parenthood were a complete sham.

During that time period, Planned Parenthood continued to operate its clinic in Louisville, KY, despite the reality facing women who went there. If a woman needed to be transported to a hospital, no agreement was in place to get her the best treatment in the case of an emergency. The abortionist could, in effect, opt out of her treatment, as he or she would be under no obligation to inform the emergency room doctors what had went wrong during the abortion. In addition to the real dangers facing women, Planned Parenthood’s actions were also illegal.

The governor’s office notes:

Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood did not have an abortion facility license, and the glaringly obvious fact that it did not have transfer agreements in place, Planned Parenthood knowingly and callously endangered the lives of its patients and began performing abortions at its facility on December 3, 2015.

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Gov. Bevin’s office also says that the previous administration aided  the abortion profiteer by ignoring the law and going beyond the scope of their authority:

On December 7, 2015, one day before the Beshear Administration left office, the then head of the Cabinet’s Office of Inspector General, Maryellen Mynear, ignored or overlooked these facts and retroactively confirmed to Planned Parenthood that it was a “long standing OIG policy” that abortion clinics could begin operations without a license.

The reality, however, is that the Cabinet had never had such a policy relating to abortion facilities. Mynear’s actions ignored clear statutory law and were without authority…. Planned Parenthood was seeking to accelerate the licensure process to be completed before its sympathetic advocate willing to ignore the law, Mynear, left the Cabinet for a new job in early January, 2016.

Planned Parenthood claims the governor’s office is playing politics:

We ask that the executive branch continue the licensure process rather than continue to make politically motivated accusations.

And Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said:

We in no way, shape or form would contemplate offering abortion procedures in anything but a legal environment.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman offered his take on the  actions of Planned Parenthood:

It looks like the previous pro-abortion administration tried to pull a fast one by getting Planned Parenthood into the abortion business before a new administration could realize that it did not meet the requirements of the law. This is political corruption at its worst. Planned Parenthood has very powerful political allies that will do anything, including committing crimes and endangering women, to benefit or cover up for Planned Parenthood. That is not just in Kentucky, but nationwide. This incident is once [sic] more case in evidence of that.

Newman added, “The law is clearly against Planned Parenthood and no amount of claiming to be the victim will weasel them out of this one.”

Gov. Bevin said that although he is pro-life, “We are a nation of laws, and my job is to ensure that they are followed regardless of my personal opinion.”

Bevin added a warning to the abortion provider:

This administration will have no tolerance for the type of brazen disregard that Planned Parenthood has shown for both the safety of women and the rule of law. We will hold Planned Parenthood accountable for knowingly endangering their patients by providing illegal abortions at a facility that was not properly licensed nor prepared to handle an emergency.

The state’s suit seeks the maximum fines allowed by law, $684,000, for operating an illegal abortion facility.

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