A high-stakes showdown is underway in Kentucky. A Christian fundamentalist group is trying to close the state’s last abortion clinic.
The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville has become the center of the abortion debate in the United States because if this clinic closes, Kentucky would be the first state in the country without an abortion provider, in a nation where abortion is legal.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is openly anti-abortion, and state law requires abortion clinics to be licensed and have a relationship with a hospital for emergencies. It’s a standard the clinic says it has met for years, but in March, the state said there were deficiencies and threatened to yank the clinic’s license.
With no license, it would close. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on the clinic’s behalf. A trial is scheduled on that question for September.
But abortion protesters aren’t waiting. This week they are beginning a campaign against the clinic, its doctors and others, and plan to picket the clinic and other locations, including the doctors’ homes.
In May, some 19 people were arrested for trying to block access, preventing patients from getting into the clinic, so now, a federal judge has ordered that there be a buffer zone around the entrance to the clinic, where a lot of the tension takes place.
A hearing is scheduled for today (Monday, July 24, 2017) on how long the buffer zone will remain here.