LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's only remaining clinic that performs abortions is challenging a state order that would shut it down.
The complaint was filed Wednesday in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville.
Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services said in a letter earlier this month that the clinic isn't meeting compliance rules and will have its license revoked if it doesn't come into compliance by Monday. The compliance concerns the clinic's agreements with a local hospital and ambulance service.
In a release, the ACLU called the enforcement action "an attempt to ban abortion in Kentucky." Lawyers want a judge to declare the state's requirements unconstitutional.
"The state is hiding behind sham justifications when its true intent is to shut down this clinic and prevent a woman from making a real decision about her pregnancy," said Don Cox, a lawyer with a Louisville firm that co-filed the suit with the ACLU.
Other states have imposed similar requirements, which supporters call necessary health measures and opponents say aim to reduce women's access to abortion. The ACLU has said the requirements "single out abortion providers for medically unnecessary, politically motivated state regulations." Similar compliance crackdowns over licensing regulations have occurred in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the ACLU.
This is the third abortion clinic Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, an anti-abortion conservative, has sought to close. Bevin last year sued Planned Parenthood in Louisville. Although the suit was dismissed, the state later denied a license to the facility and it stopped performing abortions. An EMW clinic that performed abortions in Lexington closed its doors last year, and announced in January that it would not reopen.
In a letter to the Louisville EMW clinic earlier this month, the Cabinet for Family Services' inspector general wrote that the clinic would face a $1,000 daily fine for each violation of the compliance codes.
The suit said if EMW is forced to shut down, "there will be no licensed abortion facility in the Commonwealth of Kentucky." The suit asks for an injunction to halt the state from shutting down the Louisville clinic.