State health officials shut down Femcare last week after inspectors found what the state described as “egregious violations of existing rules that revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients.” Femcare was last inspected in 2007, according to the state.
Femcare supporters and some political observers have said they think the shut-down was motivated by the recent passage of a state abortion bill. Casey Blake of the Asheville Citizen-Times reported last week:
The clinic gained attention recently following the passage of a controversial abortion bill, which critics say could effectively close all clinics in the state except the Asheville site if DHHS imposes standards similar to those of an outpatient surgical center.
State officials said the clinic’s license suspension was not related to the new abortion legislation.
What’s been lost in the shuffle is Dr. Lorraine Cummings, the doctor who owns and operates Femcare, say supporters. The new state law has driven more people to seek out the Asheville clinic, but the license suspension means Cummings can’t serve those clients. And the suspension only applies to abortion services, not gynecological services, though that distinction has not been lost in the news.
It’s all been financially devastating to Cummings, according to supporters, who have launched the fundraising campaign to raise money to get the clinic back in compliance. The Open Umbrella Collective of doulas has offered support to the clinic, and set up its webpage to accept PayPal donations for Femcare.
So far, about $1,000 has been raised, according to one spokeswoman.