LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Gov. Matt Bevin says Planned Parenthood is running an "unlicensed abortion facility" in Louisville after the group revealed Thursday that it recently started performing abortions at its new location on Seventh Street.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky opened the new location on Dec. 11, 2015, and started performing abortions on Jan. 21, according to a statement sent to WAVE 3 News. They said they decided not to publicly announce the decision to protect patients and staff members.
Bevin's office has asserted that Planned Parenthood is "openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law."
"We will use the full force of the Commonwealth to put a stop to this," Bevin said in a statement. "There is no room in Kentucky for this kind of blatant disregard for proper legal procedure."
But a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood said they "applied for an abortion facility license and commenced services under the guidance of the Office of the Inspector General, the state office that is responsible for licensing health facilities." Bevin has continued to maintain that the facility is not properly licensed and is in violation of the law.
Bevin cited a statute which prohibits providing abortions without a license, and provides for penalties ranging from $500 to $10,000 for each violation.
Planned Parenthood has been in the news frequently in recent months as Republicans at the federal level have sought to cut its funding. Bevin joined the chorus on Tuesday when he presented a budget that would prevent public dollars from going to abortion providers and affiliated organizations.
Margie Montgomery, with Kentucky Right to Life, said the decision to provide abortions undermines her group's right to make women aware of other options. "We pity the women who will be enticed when there are crisis pregnancy centers that will provide the help a woman might need," she said.
Before Planned Parenthood started offering abortions, EMW Women's Surgical Center was the only facility in the city to do so. Protesters frequently clash with patient escorts outside the building on Market Street.
"Providing access to comprehensive reproductive health services is PPINK's mission and one that the organization proudly serves through this decision," Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
Planned Parenthood also provides other services including cancer screenings, birth control products, and testing and treatment for HIV and STDs.