Carolina Public Press: Documents shed light on dramatic closing of Asheville abortion clinic


Carolina Public Press today has published a story that sheds more light on last year’s dramatic closing of Asheville’s abortion clinic, Femcare. Investigations and open government editor Jon Elliston culled through some 30,000 documents the news organization received after at October records request and details how the closure of Femcare coincided with new state rules regarding the clinics, how Gov. Pat McCrory aids worked to spin the story and much more:

While the documents stop short of pinpointing who or what prompted the mid-July inspection of the Asheville-based clinic — Femcare’s first comprehensive review in almost seven years — they do show:

  • How two lawmakers involved in introducing new abortion-related restrictions across the state began asking DHHS about Femcare’s inspection history, and those of clinics in Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington and Winston-Salem, before the law was passed.
  • How Femcare’s unique status as an ambulatory surgery center put it in the crosshairs of policy debates.
  • How DHHS staged an unusually orchestrated announcement of Femcare’s suspension, and how top aides to Gov. Pat McCrory were involved in spreading the word about the suspension to the media.
  • How DHHS and the McCrory administration — including the governor himself — responded to a flood of reporters’ requests for more information and attempted to reframe initial reports about what Femcare’s suspension meant.

The documents include some 30,000 pages of material, from emails to memos to inspection reports, though most are duplicates of press releases and news reports. DHHS released the files to Carolina Public Press last month following a public records request first filed in October 2013. Key excerpts from the release can be read below.

Click over to read the Carolina Public Press full story: Documents disclose political, PR pressures surrounding Asheville abortion clinic’s suspension.

Image courtesy of Carolina Public Press.