Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana is requesting that the Kentucky Supreme Court review an appeals court decision last month, which reversed a Jefferson Circuit Court ruling from 2016 dismissing a lawsuit filed by the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin.

In early 2016, the Bevin administration sued PPINK after asserting that its Louisville clinic had started to perform illegal abortions in late-2015 without the proper licensure.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry wrote that this suit “defies reason” in his dismissal of the case in July of that year, as the clinic had only started performing abortions 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.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in December of 2017 that Judge Perry had dismissed the case prematurely and the Bevin administration should be afforded the opportunity to prove its allegations in court.

In their motion for discretionary review sent to the Supreme Court on Friday, PPINK attorneys Laura Landenwich and Thomas Clay wrote that “it is not the role of the judiciary to prop up a frivolous or abusive claim” — again stating that the facts clearly show that PPINK’s clinic followed the guidance of the cabinet under the outgoing administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear.

“The destabilizing effect of allowing new administrations to reverse policy and then penalize those who relied on the previous policy cannot be overstated,” wrote PPINK’s attorneys in the latest motion.

They added that the court “should not allow the government to use its institutions as a tool to persecute its political enemies when there is not any plausible justification for the lawsuit.”

“Distilled to its essence, this is really a case about the abuse of government power,” the motion continued, adding that allowing a new administration to punish entities for following the policy of its predecessors “is a dangerous precedent, particularly where government actors are imposing fines that impact constitutionally protected activity.”

After receiving the response of the Bevin administration to PPINK’s motion, the Supreme Court can decide whether or not to take up the appeals court decision.

In a news release applauding the appeals court ruling last month, Bevin’s general counsel Steve Pitt asserted that planed Parenthood’s “disregard for both the safety of women and the rule of law is simply unacceptable.”

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]


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