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Aired at 9am CDT on November 4, 2009.
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WEAR 3 news story featuring Ernie Cyr and Bernadette Ensley

Originally aired on WEAR 3 at 6pm CDT on November 4, 2009.

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Transcript:

A place that’s been at the center of the abortion debate for years in Pensacola is shutting down.

The Community Healthcare Center, one of Escambia County’s two abortion providers, closed its doors last Friday.

Channel Three’s Greg Neumann joins us now with more on the clinic’s future.

During a routine inspection by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration last month, inspectors discovered that the center’s laboratory license, which is separate from their abortion license, had been expired for 413 days.

That led to a choice for the center: pay a huge fine, or shut its doors.

There’s little to no activity at the Community Healthcare Center today.

That’s because its owners chose to close it, rather than pay a 413-thousand dollar fine to AHCA, the Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Ernie Cyr: “It’s just a complete joy and what a blessing on our community to have this facility close.”

Pro-life advocate Ernie Cyr had been leading the Forty Days of Life protest outside the clinic, which just ended on Sunday.

He saw a legal notice in the local paper Tuesday, stating that the center was terminating its practice.

Ernie Cyr: “I’m in the dark just as much as the next person, so we don’t really know why exactly. We call it a miracle, really.”

…Or more likely, an oversight by the clinic.

Whatever the reason for the expired license, AHCA lawyers did offer the clinic a reduced fine as part of a settlement agreement, but never received a response.

Bernadette Ensley, UWF’s Students for Life: “For this to up and close the last weekend of Forty Days of Life is really shocking and great.”

Bernadette Ensley is a UWF senior who heads Students for Life.

That group and others will now concentrate their protest on AMS of Pensacola.

Bernadette Ensley: “It just gives us time to focus on the other abortion clinic and praying and being out there for support.”

Now, we don’t know for sure if the Community Healthcare Center is closing for good, because no one affiliated with the clinic would speak with us Wednesday.

But an AHCA spokesperson says they can’t reopen until they pay that fine.

Reporting in Pensacola, Greg Neumann, Channel Three News.