Abortion access is taking another quiet step backward. By the end of the month, Kentucky will be down to only one abortion provider in the entire state, thanks to the closing of the EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington.
The news was announced last Friday in a post on the Kentucky National Organization For Women’s Facebook page after the clinic's six-month legal battle to obtain a state license. The EMW Women’s Clinic called the closing “a permanent casualty” of pro-life governor Matt Bevin. In a Facebook post, the executive director wrote:
It is with extreme sadness and deep regret that I write to tell you (before you read it in the paper), that EMW WOMEN’S CLINIC, Lexington will close January 27th.
As you know, for the past 6 1/2 months we have diligently pursued obtaining a license to operate an abortion facility. Although we and our attorney believed we had fulfilled all the requirements to obtain the license, the Inspector General of KY disagreed and denied us the license. Unfortunately, our landlord has also declined to renew our lease on the space we have occupied at 161 Burt Rd., since 1989.
I have worked in clinics providing abortion services in KY for 43 years. I cannot begin to thank you enough for your support of me, EMW WOMEN’S CLINIC, our patients and reproductive freedom. It is with a heavy heart that I resign myself to the fate of the Lexington clinic.
There is, indeed, a chill wind blowing for the women of KY.
Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights named Kentucky as one of the states where it's particularly difficult to get an abortion. According to The Cut, last week, the ACLU sued the state over two recently passed abortion bills: a 20-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest, and a bill that would require women to get an ultrasound before receiving an abortion.
According to Raw Story, by February, the only remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky will be in Louisville. Women who live in Lexington and need an abortion will now have to drive an hour and a half to Louisville, or leave the state and travel to Cincinnati; women who live in southern Kentucky will have to leave the state and travel to Nashville to get an abortion.
Kentucky women left comments on the announcement, including “I really hope I never get pregnant while living in this awful state. I don’t know if I could get to Louisville. I might have to resort to extreme measures” and “So, why don’t we just start stockpiling metal coat hangers again?”
In a separate Facebook post, the Kentucky National Organization For Women wrote:
“This is unacceptable. It will have a huge impact on low-income women across the state who are unable to afford transportation to Louisville and back. We must have ACCESS to safe, legal, affordable abortions without interference by the government.”
Top photo via Wikimedia Commons