An abortion clinic in Bristol, Tennessee, moved across state lines to its twin city in Virginia to avoid the state’s recent ban on the procedure.
Bristol Women’s Health moved right over the border to settle in Bristol, Virginia, in late July to avoid a ban by the Tennessee legislature, Reuters reported. Tennessee’s complete ban on abortion went into effect Aug. 25, with the exceptions of saving the mother’s life or her physical health, or in circumstances where the fetus is not expected to survive the pregnancy.
Diane Derzis, the owner of the abortion facility, decided to move to the new destination in Virginia where abortion is legal up to the 26th week of gestation, Reuters reported. She owned the Mississippi abortion clinic at the center of the Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, the outlet noted.
Several residents of Bristol, Virginia — where former President Donald Trump won by 68% of the vote — were unhappy to witness an abortion clinic opening in their community, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Suggests Putting Abortion Clinics In National Parks)
But relocating between the twin cities hasn’t been easy.https://t.co/OW5x5RLOKY
— Colleen Jenkins (@colleenjenk) September 12, 2022
Chris Harber, a resident whose home is adjacent to the clinic, said several pro-life protesters lined the street in front of his residence with big, graphic photographs that his 8-year-old son could witness, the outlet reported. One sign allegedly read “child baby sacrifice center” and had an arrow pointing to the building.
Anthony Farnum, the mayor of Bristol, told upset residents he had no power to shut the business down after receiving several calls and complaints, the outlet reported. He encouraged his constituents to reach out to their state leaders on the issue.
Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin supports banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, the outlet reported. His state may further restrict abortion if Republicans win victories in the upcoming state Senate elections. The governor has said he is pro-life but supports exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
The district attorney who oversees Bristol, Tennessee, threatened that abortion providers could face legal trouble if a patient undergoes a two-part abortion pill procedure and takes the second pill back in Tennessee, the outlet reported. The doctor who performs abortions at the clinic has reportedly not prescribed abortions due to fear of facing legal repercussions.
“That could potentially be the kind of situation that would require some litigation to determine whether or not there had been a violation of law,” Barry Staubus, the district attorney, said, according to the outlet. “I hope that physicians are wise enough to avoid that and it doesn’t come up, but it may very well.”
Derzis said her clinic hired doctors who travel from other parts of the nation to perform abortions, Reuters reported.
Abortion clinics in several states have relocated to avoid a ban on the procedure. In Louisiana, the last three abortion clinics announced their relocations after the state’s Supreme Court upheld its near-total abortion ban in August.