After almost 50 years, the last clinic in Arkansas that offered surgical abortions has officially closed – temporarily.
Little Rock Family Planning Services posted a message on its website, https://lrfps.com, stating “Important Notice: Temporarily closing 9-1-22”.
According to the clinic’s website, it opened in 1973 and moved in 1997 to its newest location west of Little Rock.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have been your health care provider, some of you for many years,” according to the website’s message. “We are grateful for the opportunity to have met your medical needs.”
The message included the main phone number — (501) 225-3836 — that patients can call if they need referrals or to get their medical records.
Abortion became illegal in Arkansas on June 24 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with his decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Supreme Court ruling triggered an Arkansas law banning abortion except when necessary to save the mother’s life in a medical emergency.
“Little Rock Family Planning Services is no longer able to provide abortion services,” according to an outgoing message to the above phone number. “If you need an abortion, you can go to Prochoice.org. The website has a map of providers who still offer abortions.”
A message left on voicemail at the clinic was not returned Thursday.
“Little Rock Family Planning Services stopped providing abortion care the day the Dobbs decision was made by the Supreme Court,” said Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas. “It was to be expected with politicians in Arkansas who took an oath to protect our rights [but] instead, we eviscerated basic and established rights to make our own medical decisions, our rights to privacy and self-government. The problems created are not academic; the actions 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 offering abortions are Kansas and Illinois.
“And all Arkansans should make sure their voter registration status is up to date and vote against politicians who threaten the rights of all Arkansans,” Dickson said.
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 exit its Fayetteville site in 2019 due to challenges that posed safety concerns for its patients and staff,” according to a press release last year announcing the center’s opening. of Rogers Health in Benton County.
That clinic provides other family planning services but has never offered abortions, Rebori-Simmons said.
“We are very open and responsive to other health care needs,” she said.
These services include birth control, emergency contraception known as the morning after pill, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cancer screening and gender affirmation treatments, Rebori-Simmons said. .
The Great Plains branch of Planned Parenthood includes all of Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, as well as western Missouri.
Little Rock Family Planning Services is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
Aldersgate Road Health Center in Little Rock is affiliated with Planned Parenthood and continues to provide family planning services.
At the time of the Supreme Court ruling, the Aldersgate Road health center offered abortion pills but not surgical abortions, Rebori-Simmons said. With the Supreme Court ruling, the clinic stopped offering medical abortions.