Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration is asking a judge to penalize a Louisville Planned Parenthood facility for performing abortions without a license.
The state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services sued Thursday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, seeking nearly $700,000 in fines against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which is based in Indianapolis.
Bevin, a staunchly anti-abortion Republican, ordered abortions halted at the downtown Louisville facility after learning last month that it was performing the procedures. Bevin was outraged over the news, saying the facility has shown "brazen disregard" for the law.
Planned Parenthood says it got approval to begin performing abortions before former Gov. Steve Beshear's administration left office in December.
Judi Morrison, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said the facility "followed longstanding protocol and received necessary authorization from the appropriate authority ..."
"We ask that the executive branch continue the licensure process rather than continue to make politically-motivated accusations," Morrison said in an email response to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit said the facility began performing abortions Dec. 3, and performed 23 before Bevin halted them Jan. 28. Lawyers for the cabinet wrote in the suit that some materials submitted with Planned Parenthood's application were a "complete sham" and the cabinet's former inspector general, Maryellen Mynear, was a "sympathetic advocate willing to ignore law."
The cabinet argued that Planned Parenthood did not have valid hospital and ambulatory agreements, which would be used if there was a medical emergency. The suit also accused the organization of trying to "accelerate" the application process during the final days of the Beshear administration.
Mynear told Planned Parenthood in a Dec. 1 email that the facility had to be operating and "performing services for which it seeks licensure" before a licensing inspection could be done, according to the suit. But the cabinet argued that Mynear did not fully review the hospital and ambulatory agreements.
"Mynear was wrong in her email response," the suit said. "Abortion facilities are not allowed to commence performing abortions in Kentucky without a license."
The suit asks for a maximum $10,000 fine for each of the 57 days the facility was operating without a license, or at least a $10,000 fine for each of the 23 abortions, along with an additional $114,000 in fines for not having valid hospital and ambulatory agreements in place.
Planned Parenthood's original application remains pending with the cabinet.