Asheville's only abortion clinic is closing doors for good, leaving region without service


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ASHEVILLE, North Carolina — The only abortion clinic in Western North Carolina is shutting down, leaving the region without service for at least six months.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (http://avlne.ws/1sL3yqK) Femcare will close on Saturday. A spokeswoman confirmed the closure, but declined further comment.

Dr. Lorraine Cummings, who owns the business and is its sole physician, put the building up for sale in March. The clinic opened in 1985 near downtown Asheville, and has been the city's only provider of abortion services for years.

The closest providers of abortion services are now in Charlotte, which is 130 miles southeast of Asheville, and Greenville, South Carolina, which is about 65 miles south of the city.

The state Department of Health and Human Services suspended Femcare's license last summer, citing safety violations. The clinic closed, then reopened.

The suspension came days after Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation that directed state officials to regulate abortion clinics based on the same standards as those for outpatient surgical centers.

Planned Parenthood announced plans earlier this year to build a new clinic, originally slotted to open this summer. Melissa Reed, vice president for public affairs of Planned Parenthood Raleigh, said the opening has been delayed, and they now hope to open sometime in December.


Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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