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To life: Catholic free clinic opens on site of former Virginia abortion clinic

© Ahturner /

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/29/17


An unassuming Manassas office park Forestwood Lane once served as a flashpoint in the abortion debate, with an abortion clinic and a center designed to dissuade women from choosing the procedure sitting side-by-side in a squat, brown building.

These days, both businesses are gone, and it’s been years since crowds of protesters packed the clinic parking lot.

But recent changes have put the building back in the spotlight. A Catholic charity has opened a free medical clinic in the office that once housed one of Northern Virginia’s only abortion providers, and questions persist about how local abortion opponents engineered that change.

The Amethyst Health Center for Women once served about 1,200 patients each year before its owner shut its doors in September 2015. By February 2016, The Washington Post discovered that a Catholic foundation had bought Amethyst and promptly began forwarding callers looking for the clinic to the AAA Women for Choice Pregnancy Center, the anti-abortion center next door to Amethyst’s old space.

The office stood empty until this December, when its new owner — the BVM Foundation — partnered with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington to rechristen the space as the “Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic.”

The charity began accepting low-income patients Dec. 6; AAA Women for Choice shut its doors two days later.

“We just want to transform this place that was once a place of pain and death into a place of life,” said Dr. Scott Ross, a deacon at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville who serves as the clinic’s medical director.

Read on.

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