A trend of abortion clinics closing
The closing of the Feminine Health Care Clinic in Flint, Michigan, in August was another milestone in a nationwide trend that has been confirmed by media and advocacy organizations. Located near Flint's downtown, the closing of the clinic there leaves but one free-standing abortion provider in the Flint area. The brick building is closed and appliances and furniture can be seen through the windows. A glass entrance door to the clinic is shattered and a metal grate guarding an entrance has been jimmied. Phone calls to the facility are answered with a recorded message that it will be closed until further notice. The recording referred inquirers to Womancare of Lansing MI, which is operated by Dr. Theodore Roumell.
The Feminine Health Care Clinic became notorious in 2009 when Caitlin Bruce sued the physician at the facility, Dr. Abraham A. Hodari, for allegedly holding her down and forcing her to have an abortion when she was 18 years of age. The attorney representing Hodari, Steve Weiss, said the physician was in the midst of the procedure when Bruce admitted that she did not want to go further. Weiss said Hodari completed the abortion "for her safety and well-being,"according to the Flint Journal.
While the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in September 2010, Bruce's attorney, Tom Pabst, declined to comment on the lawsuit or the facility's closure and said that there was a confidentiality agreement in place. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said the state government did not force the closure. Records show that a medical waste permit for the abortuary expired June 30 of this year, while its freestanding surgical outpatient facility license expired July 31. Records show that Hodari's controlled substance and medical licenses lapse at the end of January of this year.
According to the Flint Journal, tax, local tax rolls for 2013 show that the taxes for the Flint facility were paid by two different entities in 2013: the Alberto Hodari Trust and the Feminine Health Care Clinic PC. Records also
Judy Climer, who presides over a local pro-life group, said that diligent work and weekly sidewalk protests paid off in closing the clinic. Climer said that the conditions at the clinic were deplorable.
There remains one freestanding abortion clinic in the area, now that two have been closed. However, pro-lifers still have work to do. Abortion providers at a local Planned Parenthood facility reportedly are still at work, as well as some unnamed medical facilities, according local media. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood admitted that abortions are carried out at their Flint affiliate.
Right to Life of Michigan has reported that the number of freestanding abortion clinics operating in Michigan has dropped from 72 in 1987-88 to the current 28. At least 10 of the closures occurred in the past three years, including facilities in Saginaw, Lansing, Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Detroit.
Michigan legislation known as House Bill 5711 was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in December 2012 and has added regulatory requirements for some abortion facilities. It includes screening requirements aimed at making sure women are not forced into abortions. The bill also dealt with the proper disposal of human fetal remains, while also prohibiting the use of abortion "telemedicine" -- such as webcam consultations.
According to Bloomberg News reports, 58 abortion clinics, or nearly one in 10, have shut down or stopped providing abortions since 2011. These closures have come about due to regulations that have made abortuaries expensive to maintain. Changing demographics, and the number of physicians retiring from the business, also had an effect.
Pro-life activists and legislatures are making more progress than ever in decreasing the number of abortions in the U,S. Freestanding clinics, rather than doctors' offices or hospitals are where most women seek abortions. The number of these clinics has dropped since the late 1980s, when the number of large non-hospital providers — those performing 400 or more abortions per year — peaked at 705, according to the Guttmacher Institute. By 2008, that number had fallen to 591.
Since 2008, the pace of closures has quickened. Since that time through August 1, 2013, state legislators have passed 200 abortion restrictions, according to the Guttmacher Institute - the same number that had passed in the prior 10 years combined.
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