Reproductive Rights Groups Gear Up For "Battle We Have To Wage"
Public protests of Gov. Matt Bevin's lawsuit against Planned Parenthood and Republicans' recent victories advancing abortion legislation in the General Assembly have taken the form of hashtags and Facebook posts, but Tuesday reproductive rights advocates brought their voices to Frankfort.
"We will not go back," attendees chanted just feet from the governor's office door.
The Capitol Rotunda turned pink as the ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky rallied a lively audience of supporters carrying signs reading "Don't Take Away Our Care" and "Keep Abortion Legal."
"It feels like a battle we have to wage against unreasonable laws and actions by our newly elected government," said PPINK Chair-Elect Kim Greene, referencing Senate Bill 4 and other measures placing added restrictions on women seeking abortions and looking to cut funding for her organization.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is currently seeking more than $900,000 in fines over allegations that Planned Parenthood illegally conducted unlicensed abortions at its new Louisville facility. In a statement last month, Bevin slammed the organization for "openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law," promising to marshal the full force of the commonwealth in opposition.
Asked about the charge, Greene told WUKY she's "1000 percent confident" the healthcare provider followed all relevant guidelines in applying for a state license.
A group calling itself Sisters for Life also held a press conference earlier this week accusing PPINK of targeting African-American women by purposefully locating its operations in low-income neighborhoods.
Greene's response: "That couldn't be more ridiculous. Planned Parenthood is all about making it possible for each individual women, regardless of her race, ethnicity, economic status, age to make her own decisions about her life."
Prior to the opening of the organization's newest location, Kentucky had only one abortion provider with a part-time clinic in Lexington and a private facility in Louisville.