UPDATE: Planned Parenthood sends abortion patients to Knoxville, plans to resume in Nashville in 2019

More than 100 protestors gathered outside Knoxville's Planned Parenthood clinic in August of 2015.
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WVLT) - UPDATE: Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi posted an update on Facebook on the suspended abortion services in the Nashville area.

"This is a temporary situation brought on by a number of factors," the organization We are 100% committed to meeting our patients’ family planning needs in Nashville, including abortion services. We are going through a period of quality improvement, and we will be providing abortion services in Nashville again in early 2019."

ORIGINAL STORY:

Planned Parenthood, the only provider offering abortions in the Nashville area, suspended its services and started referring abortion patients to Knoxville and Memphis, according to a spokesperson.

Officials with Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, the branch overseeing both the Knoxville and Nashville clinics, confirmed that the Nashville-based clinic stopped offering abortions last week but is still open for other health services.

Spokeswoman Tereva Parham said a shortage of abortion providers prompted the decision to send patients hundreds of miles away for services but could not say when services would resume in Nashville.

Parham said the change is temporary to allow a "quality improvement" period at the clinic.

In August, another Nashville abortion provider abruptly closed.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 9,732 pregnancies were aborted in the state in 2016. Some 700 of those were from Knox County. More than 14,000 abortions were performed in Tennessee in 2008.