Northwest Arkansas’ only surgical abortion clinic has closed. Located on College Avenue in Fayetteville; the Fayetteville Women’s Clinic run by Dr. William Harrison has closed due to his failing health. Dr. Harrison was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
According to an article appearing in NWAonline, Dr. Harrison began his Fayetteville career in 1972 where he offered obstetric and gynecological services to women. As time progressed, he discontinued the obstetrics portion of his practice after delivering over 6,000 babies. In the late 1970’s he opened the Fayetteville Woman’s Clinic where he offered patients elective surgical abortions.
The clinic and Dr. Harrison were featured on ABC’s “Nightline” in 2005. In the interview with Martin Bashir, Dr. Harrison is referred to as “The Abortionist of Arkansas”. At that time, Dr. Harrison claims to have performed over 10,000 abortions. The clinic states he currently performs about 6 abortions a day.
Protests frequently occurred in front of the clinic. The Fayetteville Women’s Clinic was firebombed in 1985.
500 notices to active patients were sent out by office manager Kitten Weiss notifying patients that the clinic will close its doors on July 30, 2010. Gynecology patients are being referred to local GYN doctors. Patients who require elective abortion services are being referred to a clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Local Abortion Services
Currently there are no other elective abortion services available to women in Northwest Arkansas. The closest options are medical abortions offered by Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma and Easter Arkansas, and a clinic in Little Rock. Tulsa Oklahoma is 2.5 hours away from the area and Little Rock, Arkansas is 4 hours away.
The closing of the clinic removes an important health resource for Arkansas women. Dr. Harrison’s 500 patients and pro-choice groups are sorry to see the clinic close. Groups such as 40 Days for Life, an anti-abortion group that has protested outside of the clinic in the past, are happy to see the clinic close.
A national study recently ranked Arkansas as having the third highest teenage pregnancy rates in the United States. The closing of the Fayetteville Women’s Clinic is a loss to a community full of young women requiring Dr. Harrison’s health services as his clinic offered valuable health information on the prevention of pregnancy in addition to abortion services. As a progressive college community, Fayetteville should have all forms of women’s health services available to its citizens.
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NWAonline; July 29, 2010; Clinic Offering Area Abortions to Close Friday
Nightline; January 11, 2005; Martin Bashir meets The Abortionist of Arkansas – Said to Have Performed Over 10,000 Abortions