A Tennessee law similar to the one that is currently threatening Mississippi's last abortion clinic has succeeded in shuttering a Knoxville reproductive health facility that served the critical needs of local women for 38 years.
A TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) law misleadingly titled the Life Defense Act requires Tennessee abortion clinics to have on staff a doctor with admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic had one full-time physician, Dr. Morris Campbell, who acquired admitting privileges this past spring but died just days later. A doctor who might have replaced Campbell has been unable to secure privileges in the meantime. The clinic scraped by for a couple months but ultimately couldn\'t survive without seeing patients, according to The Tennessean:
"I\'ve been able to keep the doors open and the phone staff working up until this week," wrote Deb Walsh, clinic director, in a public letter titled, "End of an Era."
"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."
This closure is proof positive that TRAP laws achieve their ultimate goal. And when they do, women suffer…from a lack of health care and an absence of choice. Our fight in Mississippi has never been more urgent.