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.
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
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.
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.