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University Hospital Pulls Care Agreement With Planned Parenthood

Exterior of Planned Parenthood's Louisville health center.
Planned Parenthood's Kentucky centers remain open, providing care including wellness visits, birth control, emergency contraception and gender confirming hormone therapy. Planned Parenthood and EMW Women's Surgical Center are also helping patients connect with access to abortions in other states.

University Hospital has informed Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky that it was cancelling an agreement to provide emergency care for abortion patients from the downtown Louisville clinic.

Thomas Clay, lawyer for PPINK, said he expects the state to use the lack of an emergency care agreement as a basis to deny the Planned Parenthood branch's license application.

University Hospital notified the health services provider of its intentions on Tuesday.

"Because of extreme pressure that was being applied to the hospital, they were going to cancel the agreement they had previously reached to provide emergency services," Clay said.

Clay didn't name the source of the pressure applied to the hospital, but he said the threat included "funding issues not only for the hospital but for U of L."

The state requires clinics that provide abortions to keep a transfer agreement with a local hospital in case of unexpected complications.

University Hospital is operated by KentuckyOne Health. Barbara Mackovic, spokeswoman for KentuckyOne Health, said "no patient will be turned away" despite the lack of a formal agreement between the hospital and the clinic.

Mackovic said in an email that "a contract or transfer agreement is not necessary for University of Louisville Hospital to receive patients and deliver emergency medical care from any source, including patients from Planned Parenthood."

KentuckyOne did not directly address why it pulled out of the agreement. But Clay said without the transfer agreement, there is a basis for the state to deny PPINK a license to perform abortions.

"We fully expect that that's what the administration intends to do, use this as a basis for denying Planned Parenthood's application for this license," he said.

He said the Planned Parenthood chapter was still researching its next steps.

Bevin general counsel Steve Pitt said no one from the administration was involved in the alleged pressuring of University Hospital.

"Planned Parenthood is making baseless and irresponsible accusations to distract from the undeniable fact that they performed unlicensed abortions without the essential agreements in place to protect women's health," Pitt said. "No one in this administration put any pressure on anyone."

The Louisville Planned Parenthood clinic announced in January that it had begun offering abortion services. But soon after the announcement, the state ordered the Planned Parenthood branch to halt the services, saying it was providing abortions without a license.

The Planned Parenthood branch said the outgoing Beshear administration had given its approval to begin offering abortion services, and that it was following the proper procedure outlined to obtain a license.

The state recently sued the Planned Parenthood branch, seeking $900,000 in fines.