Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The owner of a clinic that provided abortions in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, refuted a report that he shuttered the facility in the aftermath of frequent protests.
Terry Lazar, the owner of Ambulatory Surgery Center of Brooklyn, said the 22-year-old clinic was undergoing financial hardship and closure was a long-time coming.
“We closed for economic reasons — not because of protesters,” Lazar said. “This is something we’ve been working on for a long time. We weren’t forced to close.”
Lazar’s comments came a day after the Daily News published a report that he had closed the facility following anti-abortion protests led by a Catholic group.
Residents said the Ambulatory Center had regular protesters who carried rosaries and set up tables with graphic images of fetuses in various stages of development.
The former clinic, which will re-open under new management in two weeks, is on 43rd Street. The new facility will not conduct abortions. But one block away is an OB-GYN, which continues to offer abortions and has taken the Ambulatory Surgery Center’s patients, according to a receptionist there.
Planned Parenthood said it did not keep track of abortion clinic closures in the city.
May, a regular parishioner at St. Michael’s church, which is on the same block as the clinic, said at church services last Sunday the pastor discussed performing a blessing for the “souls that have been terminated there, and blessing the new facility.”
“This clinic here, I don’t think it was a good idea,” she said, declining to give her last name.
Curtis Phipps, 52, has lived on the same street as the clinic for 18 years and said he’s also glad it closed.
“I have a kid that’s 9-years old — I don’t want him to see that,” referring to the signs protesters displayed, and women entering to receive abortions.
The new clinic will offer orthopedic and Ear Nose and Throat services.
“No abortions, no comment,” said a woman, an employee, as she carried a box of syringes inside the new facility.