August 17, 2012 — The Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic in Knoxville, Tenn., closed on Friday, citing a recently enacted state law that requires doctors who provide abortion care to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, the AP/Washington Post reports. The clinic was open for 38 years (AP/Washington Post, 8/16).
In a public letter titled "End of an Era," Executive Director Deb Walsh wrote that she was unable to continue providing services in part because of financial pressure related to the enactment of the law. While pursuing legal action against the measure, the clinic was unable to cover its bills and operating expenses "without knowing when we could resume seeing patients," Walsh wrote. She added that one of the clinic's physicians was able to obtain admitting privileges but recently died.
The closure leaves a total of eight abortion providers in Tennessee. Women who obtained care at the Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic are being directed to a clinic 240 miles away in Charlotte, N.C., according to the clinic's voicemail (Wadhwani, The Tennessean, 8/16).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.