Today's Paper Arkansas News Legislature Newsletters Core Values Sports Public Notices Archive Obits Puzzles Opinion Story Ideas
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Arkansas’ last surgical abortion clinic closes — ‘temporarily,’ its website says

by Bill Bowden | September 2, 2022 at 7:31 a.m.
A notice that Little Rock Family Planning Services "Temporarily Closes 9-1-22" is posted on the clinic's website in this screenshot taken Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Courtesy Little Rock Family Planning Services, lrfps.com)

After almost 50 years, the last Arkansas clinic that provided surgical abortions has officially closed -- temporarily.

Little Rock Family Planning Services posted a message on its website, https://lrfps.com, saying "Important Notice: Temporarily Closes 9-1-22."

According to the clinic's website, it opened in 1973 and moved in 1997 to its most recent location in west Little Rock.

"It has been an honor and privilege to have been your health care provider, some of you for many years," according to the website message. "We are grateful for the opportunity to have served your medical needs."

The message included the main telephone number -- (501) 225-3836 -- which patients can call if they need referrals or to obtain their medical records.

Abortion became illegal in Arkansas on June 24 when the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The Supreme Court decision triggered an Arkansas law banning abortion except when it's necessary to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

"Little Rock Family Planing Services is no longer able to provide abortion services," according to an outgoing message at the above telephone number. "If you are in need of an abortion, you can go to Prochoice.org. The website has a map of providers who are still providing abortions."

A message left on voicemail at the clinic wasn't returned Thursday.

"Little Rock Family Planning Services ceased providing abortion care the day the Dobbs decision was issued by the Supreme Court," said Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas. "This was to be expected with Arkansas politicians who swore an oath to protect our rights [but] instead eviscerated fundamental, established rights to make our own medical decisions, our rights to privacy, and self-governance. The problems created are not academic; the acts of Arkansas politicians have caused suffering and deadly consequences for Arkansans."

Dickson said Arkansans can contact the Arkansas Abortion Support Network as well as www.abortionfinder.org to find access to care. She said the closest states providing abortions are Kansas and Illinois.

"And all Arkansans should ensure their voter registration status is current and vote against politicians who threaten the rights of any Arkansan," said Dickson.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains had an abortion clinic in Fayetteville, but it closed in 2019, said Anamarie Rebori-Simmons, a spokeswoman.

"Planned Parenthood Great Plains chose to leave its Fayetteville location in 2019 due to challenges that posed concerns for the safety of its patients and staff," according to a news release last year announcing that it had opened the Rogers Health Center in Benton County.

That clinic provides other family planning services, but never provided abortions, said Rebori-Simmons.

"We're very much so open and providing other healthcare needs," she said.

Those services include birth control, emergency contraception known as morning-after pills, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cancer screenings and gender-affirming treatments, said Rebori-Simmons.

Planned Parenthood's Great Plains affiliate includes all of Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, and western Missouri.

Little Rock Family Planning Services isn't affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

Aldersgate Road Health Center of Little Rock is affiliated with Planned Parenthood and continues to offer family planning services.

At the time of the Supreme Court decision, Aldersgate Road Health Center was offering abortion pills, but not surgical abortions, Rebori-Simmons said. With the Supreme Court ruling, the clinic stopped offering medical abortions.


Print Headline: Last surgical abortion clinic in state closed

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT