State AG asks agency to shut down abortion clinics, groups hit back


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to shut down abortion services in the state.

And not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were quick to condemn his efforts.

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“Today, I’m calling on CHFS Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander to certify, pursuant to KRS 15.241, that Kentucky’s abortion providers are violating his ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to perform abortions,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a statement.

“Kentucky’s current ban on elective medical procedures exists to further the mandated policy of social distancing and to help conserve medical resources for use in fighting COVID-19,” Cameron added.

“Acting Secretary Friedlander is on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am confident he understands, better than anyone, the necessity of ending abortion procedures during this health crisis. His certification will immediately trigger action by our office to stop elective procedures during the pandemic.

Abortion providers should join the thousands of other medical professionals across the state in ceasing elective procedures, unless the life of the mother is at risk, to protect the health of their patients and slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Cameron concluded.

On March 14, Governor Andy Beshear recommended hospitals cease performing elective procedures. Subsequently, on March 23, Friedlander ordered all non-emergent, non-urgent in-person medical, surgical, dental, and any other healthcare practice or procedure to cease.

Friedlander has not yet responded. During his daily briefing Thursday afternoon, Beshear said he was leaving decisions on health issues to the state’s experts. The answer came in response to a question about a bill fast-tracking in the Legislature that would give Cameron the authority to close the clinics.

In their responses, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU said “abortion care is health care and essential” during the pandemic.

“Our doors remain open for care. Denying or delaying health care places an immediate burden on patients, their families, our communities, and the health system, and can have profound and lasting consequences.  Abortion is an essential, time-sensitive medical procedure, as medical experts like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology have recognized,”  said Chris Charbonneau, the CEO of Planned Parenthood in Kentucky and Indiana.

“Reproductive health providers are committed to the health of their communities. What matters most, even in a pandemic, is that providers are able to provide essential health care without barriers, while also flattening the curve in the community.”

“It is outrageous that Attorney General Cameron and Kentucky politicians are trying to take advantage of a public health crisis to push their anti-abortion agenda.  As trusted health organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have made clear, politicians should not push ‘COVID-19 responses that cancel or delay abortion procedures,'” added Heather Gatnarek, ACLU-KY staff attorney. “These national medical experts further explained that ‘abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care. It is also a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible.’ Everyone’s situation is different and it is critical that people be able to make their own decisions about continuing or ending a pregnancy, in consultation with their loved ones and their health providers. These politicians should listen to medical experts and stop playing politics with Kentuckians’ health. “