Bevin announces lawsuit against Planned Parenthood - News, Weather & Sports

Bevin announces lawsuit against Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood opened a new location on Seventh Street in December 2015. (Source: Miles Jackson/WAVE 3 News) Planned Parenthood opened a new location on Seventh Street in December 2015. (Source: Miles Jackson/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services is suing Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, accusing the group of performing unlicensed abortions at a new Louisville location.

Planned Parenthood calls the accusations politically motivated and argues that it only started performing abortions after being advised by the state that it was permitted to do so. 

The state contends that 23 illegal abortions were performed at the facility.

Announcing the lawsuit in a press release on Thursday, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said, "Although I am an unapologetically prolife individual, I recognize and accept that there are some laws on the books that I do not necessarily agree with. However, we are a nation of laws, and my job is to ensure that they are followed regardless of my personal opinion."

"We will hold Planned Parenthood accountable for knowingly endangering their patients by providing illegal abortions at a facility that was not properly licensed nor prepared to handle an emergency," he continued.

Planned Parenthood said the 7th Street facility started offering abortions on Jan. 21, but Bevin says the procedures actually started on Dec. 3. When Bevin learned that procedures were being performed, he quickly decried the group, saying they were "in clear violation of the law."

The state argues the group should be forced to pay fines for "callous and knowing violations of law." The lawsuit says the group should be fined either $10,000 per day of allegedly unlicensed operation for a total of $570,000, or $10,000 per abortion for a total of $230,000. Other fines, totaling $114,000, should be added due to specific deficiencies in the the application for a license, the state argues.

In the lawsuit, the state acknowledges that Maryellen Mynear, the former head of Office of the Inspector General, had advised Planned Parenthood that it was "longstanding OIG policy" that abortion facilities could begin performing procedures while awaiting an inspection and before receiving a license. But the state argues that the office had, in fact, never had such a policy.

Mynear, who served under former Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has since left the department. She now works in the office of Beshear's son, Andy Beshear, the Democratic attorney general for Kentucky.

Planned Parenthood agreed to stop performing abortions on Jan. 29, after being told by the Office of the Inspector General that an application for a license was found to be deficient. The Inspector General said the facility did not have proper agreements with a hospital and an ambulance service to assist patients in case of an emergency. In the lawsuit, the state says the documents - known as transfer agreements - which were submitted by Planned Parenthood were "a complete sham."

Planned Parenthood says it has followed longstanding protocol and met all conditions for a survey. A release issued Thursday reads in part, "We ask that the executive branch continue the licensure process rather than continue to make politically motivated accusations."

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