Both AP and the Tennessean are reporting that Executive Director Deborah Walsh has announced the closure of the Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic, citing financial hardship that resulted from Tennessee's Life Defense Act. The clinic was started 38 years ago, and specializes in GYN, family planning, and abortion services.
As Metro Pulse reported in a July 2 Citybeat by Rikki Hall, the clinic's primary physician, Dr. Richard Manning, opted not to restore his admitting privileges, which is now required by the law. According the Tennessean's story, Walsh posted an open letter on the Abortion Care Network website, titled "End of an Era," and says she wrote that "One of the clinic's physicians successfully obtained privileges but recently died." However, that was actually the case at Knoxville's other clinic with abortion services, Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health.
The Tennessean quotes the letter as saying, "I've been able to keep the doors open and the phone staff working up until this week. 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 patients."
We've been unable to locate this public letter on abortioncarenetwork.org, and have not been able to reach Walsh for comment. But we'll update this post as we get more information.