Ky Appeals Court: Judge erred in dismissing Bevin lawsuit against Louisville Planned Parenthood over abortions
“While the Cabinet may have a difficult time proving its allegations,” it should be given the opportunity, the court ruled.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A judge erred when he dismissed a lawsuit filed by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration that sought to stop a Louisville clinic from performing abortions, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
The lawsuit, filed by the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, had accused Planned Parenthood of illegally performing 23 abortions at its Louisville clinic between Dec. 2015 and Jan. 2016.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry, however, ruled in July 2016 that Planned Parenthood had been given “approval” from state regulators under former Gov. Steve Beshear and was not violating state law.
But the appeals court, in a unanimous ruling, said in essence that Perry threw out the case too soon.
“While the Cabinet may have a difficult time proving its allegations,” it should be given the opportunity, the court ruled. The case now goes back to Perry.
Attorney Thomas Clay, who represents Planned Parenthood, said they are reviewing the ruling and may ask the appeals court to take another look at the issue or appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.
The case does not affect EMW Women's Surgical Center, which currently performs abortions downtown. Planned Parenthood has stopped performing abortions.
“We applaud today’s Court of Appeals ruling allowing this important case to proceed,” said Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin's general counsel. “The facts are clear and alarming: Between Dec. 3, 2015 and Jan. 28, 2016, Planned Parenthood’s Louisville facility performed 23 abortions without proper licensing or emergency safeguards in place. This disregard for both the safety of women and the rule of law is simply unacceptable, and Planned Parenthood must be held accountable.”
Planned Parenthood has said it began performing abortions at the facility under the guidance of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services toward the end of Beshear's administration.
Perry ruled Planned Parenthood had “consistent communication” with the cabinet both before and after Dec. 3.
“Based simply on a change in Cabinet personnel, it defies reason that an abortion facility which opened based on the approval of the (Office of Inspector General of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services) may be then said to have willfully violated the law by the same Cabinet,” Perry wrote.
In the suit, Bevin's administration acknowledged that Maryellen Mynear, who headed the cabinet's Office of the Inspector General under Beshear, told Planned Parenthood on Dec. 7 -- Beshear's final day in office -- that it was "longstanding policy" that clinics begin providing abortions while seeking a license.
But the lawsuit said Mynear, who left the job, acted "without authority" and calls her a "sympathetic advocate willing to ignore the law."
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