A heartbreaking letter from the executive director, Deb Walsh, explains how the new anti-choice law requiring physicians performing abortions to have local hospital admitting privileges forced their clinic to close. The only doctor who was able to reinstate his privileges, Dr. Morris Campbell, died shortly before the “Life Defense Act” went into effect on July 1. Walsh is unable to afford keeping the clinic open until another physician can obtain hospital privileges.
The clinic has been open for 38 years and I have worked there for over 30 years. I still remember the name of the first patient I took care of on the day I started, and I remember the answer an eleven year old girl gave when, after days of counseling, I asked her what she wanted to do. She said “I just want to go ride my new bicycle”. No kidding baby girl. So many images remain of the strength of women…….the day we looked out the front window and saw an Appalachian woman we’d just discharged pushing an electric blue Corvette Sting Ray fast enough that her husband could pop the clutch and start the engine…….the coal miner’s daughter that was full term and about to go into labor but swore it couldn’t be true because no one had ever been “up on” her…….the sorority girl that said she got pregnant by trying on her friend’s diaphragm that “must have had sperm on it”……the woman I brought back to life when she stopped breathing who later told us she had withheld critical medical history from us because she was afraid we wouldn’t let her have an abortion if she told us the truth……all the Catholic women who had abortions over and over again because taking a birth control pill every day added up to more sins than a few abortions a year.
I’m so angry about this, also sad, and I’m grateful for whatever wisdom I possess that keeps me from feeling like a victim.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out with kind words during this nightmare. Now, I’ve got to get back to packing. Imagine it all working perfectly.
My condolences to Dr. Campbell’s loved ones, and to the people of Tennessee, who lost an important resource this weekend.