Agency suspends license of abortion clinic

FEMCARE sign in Asheville (Courtesy: WLOS)
August 1, 2013 3:38:20 PM PDT
A third abortion clinic in North Carolina has been forced to shut down.

Now, some people want to know if it was targeted or just coincidental timing. However, the Department of Health and Human Services says the shutdown of Asheville-based FEMCARE has nothing to do with the new legislation.

The closure of Asheville's only abortion clinic comes under current health laws. FEMCARE was cited for violating 23 rules after a routine inspection. Those violations include dirty floors and beds, torn surgical masks, and anesthesia delivery systems that were in poor condition among others.

Health officials say the violations are an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients. The clinic hadn't been inspected since 2007.

The closure follows the recent shutdown of two other clinics in Charlotte and Durham that didn't meet the proper standards. It also comes just days after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the new abortion bill into law, which requires more stringent standards for clinics.

Critics are crying foul, claiming this latest closure was targeted.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, it's definitely a 10 because we knew and they knew that FEMCARE was one of the few if not the only facility that would be available to a woman that needed this kind of care and now their license has been pulled," said Susan Fisher, (D) 114th District.

"Abortion clinics have been put up on a pedestal," said Tami Fitzgerald with the N.C. Values Coalition. "They've been allowed to operate virtually hands off in our state because of the lack of inspection, and this just points that out."

In response to the closure, FEMCARE said in a statement: "Standards that were acceptable when we were last inspected have changed and, as soon as we were notified of them two weeks ago, we began the process of meeting each one of them."

FEMCARE says it has had no patient infections. The director expects to be in compliance soon and back up and running shortly.

? Read the full DHHS letter here. ? (.pdf)

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