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Will Kentucky Be the First Abortion Free State?
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Summary: With only one clinic currently allowed to perform abortions in the state of Kentucky, a legal battle may result in the end of that clinic’s abilities to continue providing abortions.

Abortions have decreased across the country over the last few decades with the availability of birth control reducing the need. Most states are also enacting stricter laws restricting abortions.


With the change of governor in Kentucky came a change of abortion views. Gov. Matt Bevin, an “unapologetically pro-life” has created a government atmosphere firmly against abortions. The state’s latest victim may be the E.M.W. Women’s Surgical Center located in Louisville. Bevin has vowed to “end this scourge that is the taking of innocent life” with Kentucky leading the way.

After stopping a new Planned Parenthood clinic built during the previous governor’s reign from performing abortions and then forcing an E.M.W. satellite clinic in Lexington to close down, the Louisville clinic may be next. With help from the American Civil Liberties Union, the clinic has sued the state with a trial set for September.

Rev. Rusty Thomas of Operation Save America, a Dallas-based anti-abortion group set to host their annual national meeting in Louisville this summer, said, “Kentucky literally stands on the verge of marking redemptive history. It could be the first surgically abortion-free state in the United States of America.”

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The E.M.W. clinic was founded in 1981 by Dr. Ernest Marshall. He has performed the abortions at the clinic for the past 37 years. Kentucky had 17 abortion providers in 1978 but now has one. North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the only other states with just one provider.

With a change of federal government leaders, abortion clinics are facing stricter rules nationwide. President Donald Trump immediately passed two new measures upon his inauguration. The first measure bans abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy while the other requires doctors to narrate the details of an ultrasound to the patient regardless of whether they want to hear it or not. The ACLU is challenging the ultrasound measure, claiming it violates the First Amendment rights of the doctor.

Elizabeth Nash with the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization, tracks abortion legislation in each state. She noted, “Kentucky for a long time was not on the policy radar. Now Kentucky is following the model of Texas and Ohio, where they are adopting restrictions or making it very difficult to keep clinic doors open.”

The Lexington clinic experienced the tight restrictions. They were operating as a physician’s office, which does not require a license to perform abortions, but state inspectors ruled they needed one. As the legal battle dragged on over whether they needed a license or not, the clinic was not allowed to operate until the decision was reached. During that time, without the ability to see patients and earn money and the landlord refusing to renew their lease, the clinic had to close its doors for good.

Kentucky law requires women to receive counseling at least 24 hours before the procedure in person or by video. At the end of every session, the women are asked, “Are you sure this is the right decision for you, and did you reach this decision yourself?”

Mike Janocik, assistant director of the Kentucky to Right Life Association, beamed, “Kentucky is a pro-life state. Abortion providers tend to fly under the radar, especially when they are in administrations favorable to their position, as ours has been for a long time in Kentucky.” It appears that under this new administration, abortion providers will not find acceptance or favorable treatment.

The current struggle the Louisville clinic is facing is the requirement to have access to a hospital in case of emergency. The nearby hospital, University of Louisville Hospital, is a Catholic run organization that does not approve of abortion, thus refuses to sign an agreement with the clinic for that access.

There are two forms of abortion – surgical and medical where the abortion is induced by taking a pill. Do you think that surgical abortions should be limited but that medical abortions should be continued to be allowed? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the restrictions of abortions recently, read these articles:



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