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FRANKFURT, Kentucky, February 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Kentucky's new governor has sued his state's Planned Parenthood chapter for allegedly conducting 23 illegal abortions.

According to a lawsuit filed by Governor Matt Bevin on Thursday, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. (PPINK) operated “an unlicensed abortion facility without hospital and ambulance transfer agreements” that ended the lives of 23 unborn children. Planned Parenthood did the abortions as its license and transfer agreements were being processed – something Bevin says is illegal.

“Although I am an unapologetically pro-life individual, I recognize and accept that there are some laws on the books that I do not necessarily agree with,” Bevin said in a statement. “However, we are a nation of laws, and my job is to ensure that they are followed regardless of my personal opinion. This administration will have no tolerance for the type of brazen disregard that Planned Parenthood has shown for both the safety of women and the rule of law. We will hold Planned Parenthood accountable for knowingly endangering their patients by providing illegal abortions at a facility that was not properly licensed nor prepared to handle an emergency.”

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PPINK says it has stopped abortions at the clinic while the license dispute is ongoing; however, it also said in a statement that “[w]e ask that the executive branch continue the licensure process rather than continue to make politically motivated accusations.” In January, president and CEO Betty Cockrum said, “We in no way, shape or form would contemplate offering abortion procedures in anything but a legal environment.”

In a press conference on Thursday, PPINK said it had permission from the administration of Bevin's predecessor, Governor Steve Beshear, to conduct abortions as the license was being approved. Bevin, however, said in his lawsuit that former Cabinet for Health and Family Services inspector general Maryellen Mynear falsely gave retroactive permission to PPINK after it started doing abortions at the clinic and that a “long standing OIG policy” allowing abortion clinics to operate without licenses had no legal foundation.

LifeSiteNews was unable to attend the PPINK press conference, where reporters were given documents allegedly backing PPINK's claim that it had permission to conduct abortions without a license – something PPINK said was done in order that the group would be engaging in all of its professional activities before an unannounced inspection by the state.

An e-mailed request for those documents was not immediately returned by PPINK.

“We applaud the Commonwealth of Kentucky for taking this important and strong action,” said Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter in a statement. “If the allegations made in this suit are proved correct, Planned Parenthood should be permanently barred from doing abortions in Kentucky. We also encourage Indiana officials to exert the highest degree of scrutiny to ensure that Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is operating within the law in our state.”

Bevin's lawsuit claims that fines could total anywhere from $500 to $10,000 per day if PPINK is found guilty of breaking the law. 

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