Ten protesters, sitting with arms linked, were arrested for blocking the entrance to Kentucky’s only remaining abortion clinic on Saturday morning.
According to the Courier-Journal, police responded to a call regarding a group of people obstructing access to EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville. Arrests were made after they refused to move out of the way so that clients could enter, in apparent violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or the FACE Act.
According to a poster on the blog Everysaturdaymorning, around 100 onlookers gathered to gawk at the scene, “creating the wildest spectacle I’ve seen in my 18 years as a Louisville Clinic Escort:”
I was approaching the entrance with a client, just a few minutes after the doors were unlocked. We were having the usual light conversation when I observed that the scene at the door was different than the usual massive cluster fuck of bullies. Instead of anti’s swarming at us and lining the sidewalk with signs, they were all tightly packed near the entrance. Then I noticed everyone was holding their phones up and pointing them at a swarm of people who I could tell were on the property. I told the person I was walking with that it looked like some trespassing was happening, and invited her to step to the other side of the parked cars and continue walking with me around the block. I figured we would head to her car and figure it out from there. Once we passed the clinic and rounded the corner, other escorts told me to head to the alley, where escorts were holding space at the back gate, which is usually reserved for clinic staff. We were able to walk folks to the alley and in the back door and NO APPOINTMENTS WERE MISSED.
The state’s resolutely anti-abortion governor, Matt Bevin, has been working with ruthless efficiency to close all of the state’s abortion providers, filing lawsuits claiming that several clinics were performing the procedure without the proper licenses. So far, his success rate has been high: An EMW location in Lexington closed in the face of the lawsuit, and Planned Parenthood has ceased providing abortions while it straightens out the dispute.
Louisville’s EMW, though also the target of a lawsuit, was saved from closure last month by a federal judge, who granted it a temporary restraining order on the basis that the “rights of [the clinic’s] patients would be immediately and irreparably harmed” without the court’s intervention.
Among those arrested on Saturday was Rusty Thomas, national director of the anti-abortion group Operation Save America. He told the Courier-Journal that the group intends to return in July for another round of protesting:
“That is a tremendous opportunity before you all to become the first surgically abortion-free state in the United States of America and so, we’re praying Kentucky will lead the way out of this blood guiltiness that’s upon the land.”
If Bevin and Thomas do succeed in getting their way, Kentucky will become the only state in the country without a single abortion clinic.