One of four remaining clinics that provide abortions in Kansas has closed because its doctor and manager have retired, the outgoing manager confirmed Monday.
The Aid For Women clinic in Kansas City, Kan., disclosed on its website that the clinic closed Saturday. Patients are being referred to two clinics in suburban Kansas City and one in Wichita.
“I am sorry for the trouble this may cause you. The Clinic Manager and Physician have both decided to retire,” the online note says. “For those who have been our patient before, we thank you for showing your trust in us and will miss you and your heart-felt stories of family hardships.”
Reached at the clinic Monday morning, clinic manager Jeff Pederson said if people want access to services like those previously provided at his facility, they will need to do something about it.
“The generation of patients whom we have helped need to step up and carry the torch instead of assuming clinic workers will always fight their battle, the battle for the right to have safe, legal, easily accessible birth control and abortions, and without having to travel to a few enlightened Democratic States,” Pederson said in a statement he prepared moments earlier.
Wichita-based anti-abortion group Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the state Board of Healing Arts in 2012, alleging Aid for Women failed to report child sexual abuse. A lawyer for the clinic denied those claims.
On Sunday, Operation Rescue hailed the clinic’s closing and said it was told last week in a letter from the Board of Healing Arts that the 2012 case was ongoing.
“There is no doubt that in addition to the faithful presence of local pro-life activists outside that facility, our case contributed to his decision to retire and shut down his seedy abortion operation, although I doubt that he would ever admit it,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in a statement.
Pederson said in 2012 that the clinic was regularly harassed by anti-abortion activists – including Scott Roeder, who fatally shot abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in a Wichita church in 2009. Pederson said Roeder, who is serving a life prison sentence, was caught on surveillance video putting glue on the clinic’s locks 18 hours before he killed Tiller.