UPDATED: Asheville abortion clinic for sale, could close; Planned Parenthood plans new clinic

Written by on March 18, 2014 in Buncombe, Healthcare, Politics, Region, Top News, Topics 8 Comments
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Jon Elliston/Carolina Public Press

Jon Elliston/Carolina Public Press

UPDATE: The Raleigh-based Planned Parenthood Health Systems plans to open a new clinic in Asheville this summer that will provide abortion services.

Melissa Reed, the company’s vice president of public affairs, told Carolina Public Press this morning:

“Planned Parenthood is very committed to insuring the continuity of care for women in the western part of the state, and we do plan on offering abortion care in Asheville, probably beginning in the mid summer. We’re opening a new health center that will have comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion care.

“We have been in constant contact with Dr. (Lorraine) Cummings” — Femcare’s owner — “to ensure her support and make sure that that care continues in the Asheville area.”


ASHEVILLE — Western North Carolina’s only provider of abortion services, Femcare, put its property up for sale last week. And a patient of the Asheville women’s clinic tells Carolina Public Press that she was told by a clinic staffer that it will close soon.

According to a real estate listing from a week ago, Femcare’s building, near downtown Asheville, is now for sale for $1.275 million. Dr. Lorraine Cummings, who owns the business and serves as its sole physician, declined to comment on the matter when contacted on Monday.

Femcare provides a number of women’s health services outside of abortions. An Asheville woman who said she has been a gynecology patient of the clinic told Carolina Public Press on Friday that when she recently tried to schedule a return visit, she was told that the clinic was closing and taking no new appointments. Carolina Public Press agreed to withhold her name to protect her confidentiality.

If Femcare closes and its services aren’t replaced locally, the nearest abortion services in North Carolina that are presently available are in Charlotte.

The clinic drew extensive attention last summer, when it was temporarily suspended from operating by state health regulators in the aftermath of intense debate over North Carolina’s new abortion law. Femcare is the only abortion provider in the state that meets ambulatory care standards that may soon be required, under the new law, of all N.C. abortion clinics.

Last Thursday, Carolina Public Press reported on a sizable trove of internal Department of Health and Human Services documents about Femcare’s brief suspension. The records revealed that while there had been no patient complaints about Femcare’s operations, DHHS and the office of Gov. Pat McCrory staged a sizable publicity push around the suspension, which occurred two days after McCrory signed the new abortion bill into law.


More from Carolina Public Press

State agency denies abortion politics played role in suspending Asheville women’s clinic

Documents disclose political, PR pressures surrounding Asheville abortion clinic’s suspension

Asheville abortion clinic’s license suspended by state health agency

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About the Author

Jon Elliston

Jon Elliston is the Investigations and Open Government Editor at Carolina Public Press. Contact him at jelliston@carolinapublicpress.org.

8 Comments on "UPDATED: Asheville abortion clinic for sale, could close; Planned Parenthood plans new clinic"

  1. Meredith Eugene Hunt March 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm ·

    How many lives were snuffed out at that horrible place over the years? And of course McCrory’s office pushed back against the onslaught of media hostility toward limitations on abortion. Just because “no” complaints were made doesn’t mean that women weren’t hurt. Besides, abortion by its very violent, destructive nature hurts women. The real question ought to be how did a Democratic administration let the place go for so long without inspections? The real investigation ought to be into how abortion takes the life of a person in the womb. Planned Parenthood’s plans are not surprising, and they are not a sure thing. My prayers are that the fail miserably. Perhaps now the 100s of churches who know that abortion is murder will rise up and protect our community from another killing center opening up.

    • Scott Bryan March 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm ·

      It’s obvious you are very passionate about anti-abortion advocacy. It’s a shame your passion does not extend to the same children after they are born.

      • Meredith Eugene Hunt March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am ·

        On what basis do you say “It’s a shame your passion does not extend to the same children after they are born.”? And do we have little legal killing shops in Asheville and all over the United States for children after they are born?

  2. Meredith Eugene Hunt March 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm ·

    Another question is, if McCrory’s timing for closing down “Femcare” is significant, how is it that the timing of Mr. Elliston’s exhausting report (yes, exhausting) is not significant, just days before the news about it closing permanently, Perhaps there is an agenda to blame the governor for this closing?

  3. Lisa March 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm ·

    Abortion care? I am sure the unborn children that are cut up feel very cared for. Euphemisms are used when evil is justified.

  4. Alan Ditmore March 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm ·

    I hope we get a new abortionist who doesn’t dislike all protesters on either side the way Dr. Cummins does.

  5. Alan Ditmore March 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm ·

    Asheville needs a streetfighter for an abortionist like Tiller or Carhart, and Cummins was clearly never much of a streetfighter.

  6. Alan Ditmore March 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm ·

    This might also be an opportunity to rethink abortion clinic siting. Federal regulations are such that it is important to site clinics within walking distance of a state line; so that minors can cross on their own while volunteer drivers can avoid crossing lines. In this case an optimist would build near Saluda to serve South Carolinian patients; where a pessimist would build in newly blue Bristol Virginia. Both have cheaper commercial real estate than Asheville, so that a trade would leave an abortionist with funds to spare, however Asheville has a volunteer escort core and an allied police department, which Both Saluda and Bristol probably lack.
    I wonder if a new activist abortionist will challenge the new Asheville Lighting regulations? because an abortion clinic needs more security lighting even than the federal building, and antilighting Bothwell will have a dilemma on his hands if he has to deal with that one. He will have to set his priorities, just like the big government regulators did when Femcare requested razor wire.

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