By

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

The carafem clinic, which is described as a women’s health clinic, received the necessary permits from the city of Mt. Juliet to operate at 5002 Crossings Circle in Mt. Juliet.

However, it will not be able to perform surgical abortions as it originally intended to do, according to Mt. Juliet planner Jennifer Hamblen.

The clinic opened March 1 and originally didn’t get the proper permits to open. The Mt. Juliet City Commission met in a special session March 4 and voted to restrict commercial zoning to not include surgical abortions. A surgical abortion clinic would have to be in an area zoned industrial, if it chose to operate in the city.

By state law, the proposed rezoning has to go before the Mt. Juliet Planning Commission, which it will do Thursday night. Then, the city commission would again have to approve the rezoning.

In the meantime, the clinic is open for women’s health procedures, excluding surgical abortions. Even though surgical abortions are not permitted in the zoning, abortions with a medical abortion pill can still be performed, according to state law.

“Mifeprex is the brand name for the drug referred to, and it is FDA approved for use in clinics but not dispensed in pharmacy. It’s been in use in the U.S. since 2000 with updated guidelines in 2016,” said Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson Elizabeth Hart.

The day of the city commission’s special-called meeting to rezone the clinic, a carafem spokesman said, “carafem opened a reproductive health care and family planning center in the Nashville metro area to provide safe, convenient and affordable health care options with a licensed, quality health provider to serve women in Tennessee. The health center offers early abortion care up to 10 weeks with the medical abortion pill, STI testing, a wide selection of birth control options such as IUDs, birth control implants, Depo Provera shots, birth control pills and emergency contraception.”

“With one-in-four women in the U.S. who will choose to have an abortion before the age of 45, carafem remains committed to ensuring that she has access to a safe, affordable medical care. We are proud to continue our mission to allow a woman to decide when and if she is ready to become a parent. Our doors remain open to serve clients in Mt. Juliet.”

Citizens and others opposed to abortion plan to peacefully protest this weekend, according to social media posts.

Protests are planned for Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. The information is on the Hip Mt. Juliet Against Abortion Facebook page. There are posts on the page from pro-life and pro-choice Wilson County residents, as well as people from other areas.

The protests will take place in the public areas in front of the Providence Pavilion building that houses carafem at 5002 Crossings Circle in Mt. Juliet.

Mt. Juliet planners vote to rezone surgical abortion clinics

The Mt. Juliet Planning Commission on Thursday night approved a recommendation to the Mt. Juliet City Commission to rezone surgical abortion clinics from commercial to industrial.

The matter was placed on consent agenda at the planning meeting because that’s what happens with rezoning issues, according to city planner Jennifer Hamblen. The consent agenda is a grouping of various measures that are voted on in a single vote, rather than each item individually.

That matter pleased the sparse crowd, especially resident Bill Houston.

“At a clinic like that, two people go in and only one comes out,” he said. “This should not be in Mt. Juliet. It should be in Nashville, where most people would go to it.”

No one spoke for or against any item on the consent agenda when the time came for citizen comment.

By state law, the rezoning had to go before the city’s planning commission. Now that the planners approved it, the matter must once again go before the city commission.

In the meantime, the clinic is open for women’s health procedures, excluding surgical abortions. Even though surgical abortions are not permitted in the zoning, abortions with a medical abortion pill can still be performed, according to state law as found in Tennessee Code Annotated 39-15-201 and 39-15-202.

“Mifeprex is the brand name for the drug referred to and it is FDA approved for use in clinics but not dispensed in pharmacy. It’s been in use in the U.S. since 2000 with updated guidelines in 2016,” said Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson Elizabeth Hart.

A carafem spokesperson previously said, “[carafem] offers early abortion care up to 10 weeks with the medical abortion pill, STI testing, a wide selection of birth control options such as IUDs, birth control implants, Depo Provera shots, birth control pills and emergency contraception.”

Citizens and others opposed to abortions plan to peacefully protest this weekend, according to social media posts.

Protests are planned for Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. The information is on the Hip Mt. Juliet Against Abortion Facebook page. There are posts on the page from pro-life and pro-choice Wilson County residents and people from other areas.

The protest will take place in the public areas in front of the Providence Pavilion offices where the clinic opened in early March at 5002 Crossings Circle in Mt. Juliet.