The only abortion clinic in western North Carolina closed its doors on Saturday after its facility was put up for sale in March. The closest in-state abortion provider for women in the region is now in Charlotte.
Femcare, which had been open since 1985, has faced an uncertain fate since last summer when it briefly closed and then reopened. A spokesperson for Femcare told the Asheville Citizen-Times late last week that the clinic would be closing on Saturday, but declined any further comment.
Last July, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human services suspended Femcare’s license after an inspection found rule violations. The suspension came just days after SB 353, an omnibus anti-choice bill, was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCroy. Along with banning telemedicine abortion and
insurance coverage of abortions through the state’s insurance exchange, the bill also gave the state health board the power to regulate abortion clinics using the same standards as those used for ambulatory surgical centers. The clinic closed following the suspension but reopened later that month.
reported last year, Femcare was the only clinic in the state to meet all ambulatory surgical center requirements under SB 353.
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According to the local paper, Planned Parenthood is in the process of opening a new clinic in Asheville. Originally slated to open before Femcare shuttered its doors, the new clinic will be ready to see patients sometime in December, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports.
The delay means that for six months, women seeking an abortion in western North Carolina will have to travel to find safe, legal abortion care. The closest clinics are now 125 miles away, in Charlotte, and 60 miles away in Greenville, South Carolina.