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Knoxville abortion clinic closes, citing new TN abortion law

6:08 PM, Aug 16, 2012   |    comments
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By Anita Wadhwani / The Tennessean 

A Knoxville abortion provider has closed after 38 years, citing a newly enacted Tennessee law that requires doctors to hold admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The Volunteer Women's Medical Center in Knoxville closed Friday.

In a public letter titled "End of an Era," Executive Director Deb Walsh wrote that she was unable to keep their doors open in part due to the "Life Defense Act," which requires physicians to obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals.

"I've been able to keep the doors open and the phone staff working up until this week," Walsh wrote. "We've been working on legal remedies, injunction, etc., but I was unable to bridge the financial gap of paying the monthly lease and operating expenses without knowing when we could resume seeing patients."

One of the clinic's physicians successfully obtained privileges but recently died, she wrote.

Walsh's letter was posted on the website of the Abortion Care Network, whose executive director confirmed the clinic's closure.

The closure brings to eight the total number of abortion providers in Tennessee. A voice mail at the Volunteer Women's Medical Center refers women seeking abortions to a clinic in Charlotte, N.C., 240 miles away.

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