Knoxville Abortion Provider Closes Doors After 38 Years

Aug 17, 2012

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP.WMOT) — A new Tennessee law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is being blamed for the closure of a longtime Tennessee abortion provider.

The Volunteer Women's Medical Center in Knoxville recently closed its doors after being in operation for 38 years.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

Executive Director Deb Walsh says the clinic was unable to keep operating in part due to the "Life Defense Act," recently passed by the Tennessee legislature, requires abortion physicians to obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals.

Supporters of the new law say it’s meant to protect a woman’s health. Hedy Weinberg of the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it’s part of what she calls “a full frontal assault” on a woman’s reproductive freedom.

“Not to ensure quality health care, which is what we should all be about, but to put up barriers and obstacles so that women will not have quality health care options available to them.”

Weinberg says her organization and others are gearing up to fight a proposed 2014 amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that would make abortions illegal in the state. The proposal is largely symbolic since it would be superseded by federal law protecting a woman's right to an abortion.