New Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for allegedly performing abortions without a licence.
Bevin, through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, filed the complaint on Feb. 18 before the Jefferson Circuit Court against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK), accusing it of performing 23 illegal abortions between December and January.
"Although I am an unapologetically pro-life individual, I recognise and accept that there are some laws on the books that I do not necessarily agree with," said Bevin. "However, we are a nation of laws, and my job is to ensure that they are followed regardless of my personal opinion."
He said his "administration will have no tolerance for the type of brazen disregard that Planned Parenthood has shown for both the safety of women and the rule of law. 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."
Kentucky's law states that abortion facilities must first obtain a licence before performing abortions.
Last November during the last days of the administration of former Gov. Steven Beshear, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed an application with the Cabinet for a licence to operate an abortion facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
Planned Parenthood's licence application also contained the transfer agreements, which Bevin said "were a complete sham." The facility began performing abortions on Dec. 3, 2015.
A day before the Beshear administration left office, the then head of the Cabinet's Office of Inspector General, Maryellen Mynear, told Planned Parenthood about the "long-standing OIG policy" that abortion clinics could begin operations even without a licence.
Beshear said the Cabinet never had such a policy and Mynear's actions ignored laws and were without authority.
Last Jan. 28, the Cabinet issued a cease and desist order against Planned Parenthood after it found out that it was performing abortions without a licence.
In a statement, PPINK denied the accusations, claiming that it "followed long-standing protocol and received necessary authorisation from the appropriate authority, the Office of Inspector General , to perform abortions at its facility while awaiting a site survey."
"All conditions for a survey to occur have been met. We ask that the executive branch continue the licensure process rather than continue to make politically motivated accusation," it said.
The lawsuit asks the court to fine Planned Parenthood $570,000 for performing abortions without a licence and $114,000 for not having a transfer agreement with a hospital and an ambulance transfer agreement.