The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday reversed a Jefferson Circuit Court ruling from last year that had dismissed a lawsuit filed by the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which accused their Louisville clinic of performing illegal abortions without proper licensure.
In July 2016, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry dismissed the lawsuit against PPINK, as the clinic had only started performing abortions in December 2015, after receiving explicit permission to do so by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services — with the understanding that an official license would only be granted after the clinic passed an inspection by that department.
In February 2016, under the new Bevin administration, the cabinet reversed course and filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for performing 23 abortions in December and January without a license to do so.
The appeals court ruled Friday that the judge had dismissed the case prematurely and that the cabinet should be given the chance to prove its allegations against the clinic in court.
In a press release, Gov. Bevin’s general counsel Steve Pitt applauded the ruling, asserting that planed Parenthood’s “disregard for both the safety of women and the rule of law is simply unacceptable.”
In Planned Parenthood’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit last year, they called the Bevin administration’s lawsuit a “political stunt” and a “jaw-dropping display of authoritarian hypocrisy.” Attorney Thomas Clay said at the time that the lawsuit was driven by “a personal vendetta the governor has against a lawful operation.”
The Bevin administration has already shut down one clinic that performed abortions in Lexington and attempted to shut down EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville, the state’s last remaining abortion clinic.
In a press release Friday reacting the appeals court decision, PPINK president and CEO Christie Gillespie noted that the ruling states that the “decision is not a statement on the merits of the case.”
“PPINK sought the advice of the governmental agency charged with overseeing licensure and followed its guidance,” stated Gillespie. “We did nothing wrong, and we are confident the courts will agree. We are committed to providing high-quality health care for all at our Kentucky health centers, and we will continue to do so while this case is litigated.”