Kings County women's clinic to close, amid outcry

August 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Kings County supervisors reconsidered whether to close the reproductive health clinic used for services like pregnancy care, birth control, and STD testing.

In a four to one vote, the Kings County Board of Supervisors voted to shut down their reproductive health clinic by the end of the year. But before the decision was made, many people spoke out against its closure.

One by one dozens of women, and men, went before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning urging them to change their vote and save the re-productive health clinic But officials said there's been a decline in funds used to support the facility.

Two months ago, the board voted to close the clinic after public health officials recommended doing away with it. "It was a recommendation that we made reluctantly. But the financial situation is such that we spend $2.2 million in state realignment funds that we were given to do public health programs over the last 5 years to operate the clinic," said Keith Winkler, Kings County Public Health Director.

Public outcry grew over the decision. "If it's a fight you want, it's a fight you got for most of the women in this community," said Holly Blair of Lemoore.

Despite hundreds of petitions to prevent its closure, the clinic was not given a second chance. "So all of this was a waste of time because they just shut the door again on women's health issues," said Richard Valle, Kings County Supervisor.

Instead, the board voted to form a "working committee" to help transition patients to other private providers that will step in to fill the void.

The clinic will close down on December 31st of this year. It's still unknown how many people will be laid off.


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