State denies Planned Parenthood abortion-clinic permit

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has denied an abortion-clinic license to Planned Parenthood in Louisville, saying it performed abortions without proper authorization from the previous administration, as Democrat Steve Beshear was leaving the governor’s office.

Health Secretary Adam Meier told Planned Parenthood in a letter Friday that the 23 abortions it did in December 2015 and January 2016 were a “substantial failure” to comply with state law. Planned Parenthood said it would “continue to fight this decision.”

“The decision comes amid an ongoing federal court battle in which Planned Parenthood alleges state officials, under Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican, are deliberately obstructing its efforts to get a license for abortion services,” reportDeborah Yetter and David Harten of the Courier Journal.

“Planned Parenthood officials produced documentation from state officials directing them to open the clinic and begin providing all services, including abortions, so it could be inspected and granted a license. But the license had not been issued when Bevin took office in December 2015. His administration ordered Planned Parenthood to stop, saying such abortions were not authorized without a license. Planned Parenthood immediately stopped providing abortions as it continued with its license application.”

The application languished, and in June U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers in ordered the state to expedite its review “and report back to him no later than Aug. 19 with a decision,” the CJ notes. On Friday, Bevin’s office told Stivers that he has “no jurisdiction over the state licensing process.”

The administration first refused to grant Planned Parenthood a license on grounds that it lacked adequate agreements with other health-care providers. Meanwhile, it tried to revoke the license of Kentucky’s only operating abortion clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, claiming its transfer and transport agreements were deficient. Stivers ruled that the law requiring such agreements is unconstitutional; his ruling is on appeal.