Virginia's most active abortion clinic closes

July 15, 2013 at 1:25 PM
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FAIRFAX, Va., July 15 (UPI) -- A woman's healthcare clinic that performed more abortions than any other location in Virginia closed, and officials said it was unclear whether it would reopen.

A woman who answered the phone at NOVA Women's Healthcare said it was closed, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Court records in Fairfax indicate the clinic agreed to surrender its space in mid-June.

NOVA Women's Healthcare, operating in an office building since 2006, was sued twice in the past three years by its landlord, and likely faced a required upgrade or move after Virginia changed its regulations to require abortion providers to have hospital-grade facilities.

The clinic found a possible new location in March and applied for a non-residential use permit to retrofit that space. The permit was denied because officials decided parking at alternative facility was inadequate, zoning administrator Michelle Coleman told the Post.

NOVA chose not to seek a special exception to the parking rules from the city council, Coleman said.

Last year, NOVA performed 3,066 "induced terminations of pregnancy" the Virginia Department of Health said, and 3,567 procedures in 2011. The Post said those figures represented the most in any facility in Virginia in those two years.

NOVA's closure is "huge," said Troy Newman of anti-abortion Operation Rescue.

"Our focus has always been on the local level. In the last 15 years, we've closed 71 percent of all the abortion clinics in the nation," Newman said, adding that the number of clinics in the United States dropped from 2,176 in 1991 to 625 now.

The center provided medical services to thousands of women, said Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

"It was the largest abortion provider, but thousands of women also relied on them for birth control and other health care, and they went to NOVA because they could not afford care otherwise," Yarmosky said. "Now they are left without their trusted health-care provider, in part due to politicians. It's definitely a loss."

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