Charlotte abortion clinic reopens following investigation, shut-down

Published: May. 14, 2013 at 1:14 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2013 at 1:14 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte abortion clinic, which was forced to shut its doors after an investigation, has reopened after agreeing to make changes.

Officials from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told  WBTV that A Preferred Women's Health Center, LLC will be allowed to reopen as early as Wednesday morning, which it did.  The clinic reopened at 9:30 a.m.

WBTV learned the clinic chose not to appeal state's decision and has agreed to a quality improvement plan. The plan requires the clinic to stop using a drug that was being administered incorrectly.

The clinic, located on Latrobe Drive, has proven they are safe to open, according to a state spokesman.  The clinic closed at the end of the day on Friday at the request of the DHHS.

On Tuesday, a group of pro life supporters gathered outside the abortion clinic to celebrate its closing. They've been protesting the clinic for years.

"We're out here today rejoicing that this parking lot is empty. We're so glad," said Reverend Flip Benham.

WBTV ON YOUR SIDE uncovered a 12 page report detailing what State health inspectors found in April after someone complained. It says the clinic was administering the cancer drug Methotrexate, for abortions.

The report also says the clinic gave patients the drug orally, but state regulations require the drug to be injected.

In one incident at the clinic, a 21-year -old pregnant woman drank the drug, but returned a month later still pregnant. The clinic then performed a surgical abortion, according to the report.

Ricky Diaz, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, told WBTV abortion clinics are generally inspected every two years, but the state statute does not specify how often inspections are required.

Diaz said the clinic was inspected in December and April of last year because of complaints.

Reverend Flip Benham thinks the clinics should be inspected more frequently.

"They need to meet certain standards. Don't we have certain standards of cleanliness?" he said.

The owner of the clinic, Lois Turner, did not return WBTV's calls for comment.

Debbie Lang, who owns a dog boarding business across the street from the clinic, told WBTV on Monday night that she was happy the clinic had been shut down. Lang is openly pro choice, but says the clinic brings problems to the office park.

"A couple of the girls would come up here asking us to use the telephone, or they didn't have a ride home," Lang said. "One girl looked kind of ill."

Lang said people protesting the clinic caused problems too.

David Hains is a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. He studied the report in detail, and says words "imminent threat", "failed" and "neglected" concern him the most.

"What was going on there, according to the report, obviously was not safe" he said.

WBTV checked and this is the first time the state has shut down this specific clinic.

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