Washington Center That Did Secret Abortion on Teen Closes

State   Steven Ertelt   Nov 17, 2010   |   2:29PM    Yakima, WA

The abortion business near Seattle that did a secret abortion on a teenager years ago has closed. The Cedar Women’s Clinic, which was the first abortion center to open in the city 31 years ago, closed Monday.

“It’s regrettable. We’d rather not have to close,” Beverly Whipple, one of the founders, told the herald newspaper. “There isn’t the patient volume for two main providers.”

Whipple and Deborah Lazaldi opened the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Yakima in 1979 and it did about 1,000 to 1,200 abortions anually.

Charlotte Taft, director of the Abortion Care Network, part of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers todl the newspaper part of the problem is competition with Planned Parenthood.

“You end up with an independent provider trying to figure how to compete against a name everybody knows,” she said. “For me, this (closure) is a tremendous, enormous loss.”

Now, just one abortion center remains in Yakima and pro-life advcoates confirm say the closing came because fewer women are looking to abortion.

Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger said the closing is “great news for women and their pre-born babies” and comes because of “a dramatic decrease in the demand for abortions.”

The Washington state health department issued a report last month saying the abortion rates in the state have dropped to a historic low. http://www.lifenews.com/2010/10/28/state-5620/

The agency noted that, for all women, aged 15-44, the abortion rate dropped to 16.7 per 1,000 compared to 18 in 2008.
Allison Cook, spokesperson for the state Health Department, indicated abortion rate for teens 15 to 19 was 16.6 compared to 18.7 in 2008.

Looking at the overall number of abortions, there were 22,642 abortions in Washington state last year, a decline of 6.7 percent over the previous year. That means there are fewer annual abortions now than at any point since 1985.

Sullenger says the closing represents a trend of decreasing numbers of abortion clinics.

“Operation Rescue conducted extensive research and documented that over two-thirds of America’s abortion clinics have closed since 1991, when there were over 2,100 clinics nationwide,” she said.

The Cedar Women’s Clinic, operated by the Feminist Women’s Health Center, was the subject of controversy.

In 2005, a social worker affiliated with an Alaska hospital arranged a secret abortion for a 15 year-old teenager at the Cedar Women’s Clinic paid for at government expense. The parents of the teen filed suit against the Providence Alaska Medical Center after learning that an employee there took their daughter for the abortion without their knowledge or consent. http://www.lifenews.com/state1009.html

The family became alarmed when their daughter didn’t return home from school one afternoon in March 2003. They only learned about their daughter’s whereabouts when an older daughter informed them. The teen knew her parents would not approve of the pregnancy but told her boyfriend’s mother she did not want to have an abortion.

Fifteen weeks into the pregnancy, the teen went to Providence for prenatal care. There, the social worker asked her to return alone later in the day. Then, the worker suggested the abortion and made arrangements with Cedar River Clinic abortion facility, near Seattle, operated by the Feminist Women’s Health Center.

The social worker also arranged for a state-funded insurance program for poor children, Denali KidCare, to pay for the abortion.

The teen’s parents desperately called police when they found their daughter missing. Her family told officials, upon learning of the secret abortion, that they would gladly have helped their daughter raise the baby.