A 38-year-old Knoxville abortion clinic that was targeted by the 40 Days for Life campaign has closed after it could not comply with a new state abortion clinic regulation regarding doctors’ qualifications.
“After decades of death, it’s almost too much to believe!” Christine Lefebvre of the Pro-life Coalition of East Tennessee said in a message to pro-life advocates.
“As I cautiously absorb the news today, I’ve been thinking of all those who have kept vigil outside that clinic over the years, those who were arrested, those who have been mocked and ridiculed for their unwavering opposition to the greatest evil of our time.”
Deb Walsh, executive director of the Volunteer Women's Medical Center, announced the closure in a public letter posted on an abortion network website Aug. 10.
She said she had to close in part because of the Tennessee legislature’s 2012 Life Defense Act, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at area hospitals. The clinic did not see patients while it sought legal remedies to the requirements, which caused financial problems that hastened the closure.
Walsh said that one doctor at the clinic had obtained admitting privileges but recently died.
Earlier this year the Tennessee Department of Health cited the clinic for violations in infection control surgical services and basic services. Its sterilization machine had failed a Feb. 1 test but was still in use when inspected three weeks later. The clinic had expired or missing medication and two non-functioning scopes.
However, the state health department revisited the clinic in April and found it had taken corrective action, Knoxville’s WATE News reports.
The clinic had been a location for the 40 Days for Life campaign, a bi-annual 40-day event of prayer, pro-life advocacy and community outreach.
Lefebvre asked for prayers that someone can buy the building and “turn it into a sacred place of memorial and healing.”
Eight abortion providers now remain open in Tennessee, The Tennessean reports. The Knoxville clinic refers women seeking abortions to a clinic in Charlotte, N.C., which is 240 miles away.