A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Planned Parenthood claims transfer agreement with hospital canceled due to pressure from Bevin

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky claims in a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin that he put pressure on Louisville hospitals to keep the organization from getting a state license for an abortion clinic in the city, Deborah Yetter reports for The Courier-Journal.

A trial brief filed Aug. 30 alleges that the governor threatened “to block millions of dollars in public funds from University of Louisville Hospital,” Yetter reports. “Planned Parenthood said it will show pressure from Bevin caused the U of L hospital to abruptly cancel a written agreement it had with Planned Parenthood to treat patients in an emergency — an agreement required by state law — and that the administration intimidated other local hospitals into refusing to sign off on such agreements.”

Bevin’s office “dismissed the allegations as untrue, saying there was no political pressure nor any threats from the administration,” Yetter writes, quoting spokeswoman Amanda Stamper: “Planned Parenthood’s attempt to misconstrue the documents simply reflects its desire to divert attention from the weakness of its case.”

Planned Parenthood says emails, text messages and other documents show otherwise, and that Bevin “has made it his mission to eliminate all abortions in his jurisdiction.” Bevin is trying to revoke the license of Kentucky’s only legal abortion provider, EMW Women’s Surgical Center.

EMW and Planned Parenthood are challenging as unconstitutional and unnecessary a requirement the Bevin administration has used to reject Planned Parenthood’s license application and revoke EMW’s license. A state law requires an abortion clinic to have a transfer agreements with a hospital and ambulance service in case of an emergency, and the administration has “applied stricter scrutiny and imposed new standards” to enforce the law, Yetter notes.

The trial of the lawsuit is scheduled to begin Sept. 6. In pre-trial testimony, the head of KentuckyOne Health, which once managed the U of L hospital, said Bevin asked her at a social event if the company would “make a public statement about any conversations we had around a transfer agreement. . . . We subsequently decided that we would not make a statement.”

The hospital had signed a transfer agreement with Planned Parenthood, but revoked it, allegedly under pressure from Bevin appointees, which they have previously denied. “Planned Parenthood has since obtained transfer agreements with two other hospitals, one in Lexington and the other in Southern Indiana, but the Bevin administration has rejected them as inadequate,” Yetter reports.

From Kentucky Health News

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