For almost half a century, the Fort Myers Women's Health Center that has been providing abortions performed by medical doctors with "specialized training in abortion medicine" to Floridians has finally announced on Wednesday its permanent closure.

LifeNews said the announcement comes after Fort Myers Women's Health Center Abortionist Fernando Betancourt filed his retirement "about a month ago." The news was announced by Pro-Life Action Ministries Central Florida Branch Manager Michele Herzog in her Facebook account.

This was then confirmed by All Women's Health Centers receptionist to an Operation Rescue Representative. Operation Rescue similarly confirmed Betancourt's retirement. Fort Myers Women's Health Center was an affiliate of All Women's Health.

"Our Fort Myers location is closed and no longer taking patients," the receptionist said.

Previously, the Fort Myers Women's Health Center was fined with $200 by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration in May 2020 after failing to comply to statutory requirements to file a monthly report of abortions. The facility was then cited months after for providing abortion without proper parental consent to two minor patients, which prompted an "unannounced" inspection by local authorities on November 19, 2020.

Florida, which ranks third to the states with the biggest number of abortion facilities, have 56 abortion facilities still in operation. California ranks first with 150 facilities and New York 82. All Women's Health Centers, whose abortion services range from pills to second trimester abortions or those over 12 weeks of pregnancy provided in its 11 branches, comprise 19% of Florida's abortion facilities.

Notwithstanding, Florida is said to have fewer abortion facilities today compared to records obtained by Operation Rescue decades ago. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman raised the importance of an abortion facility's closure in an interview with LifeNews.

"Any time an abortion facility closes, lives are saved. We rejoice with Florida pro-life activists who may have prayed for or somehow contributed to this closure. We hope this is the first of many to come this year," Newman said.

In a report released last week, Operation Rescue revealed that abortion facilities in the United States have increased in 2021 totaling 720 despite the pandemic. There are 14 more abortion facilities--41 "new" or "opened or resumed" vis a vis 27 "closed or halted"--in 2021, said to be the highest increase since 2016 though far lower than the 2,176 recorded for 1991.

The 720 abortion facilities are comprised of "448 surgical and 272 chemical abortion facilities operating in the United States." Majority of abortion facilities or 54% in the country are operated by Planned Parenthood, whose branches increased slightly in 2021. Surgical abortion facilities decreased to 265 in 2021, which is said to be lower than 10 the previous year.

Abortion pill facilities increased by 24 locations, of which 44% increased in its use of telemedicine for the distribution of abortion drugs in 2021 resulting to 123 locations, which "account for 17% of all abortion facilities nationwide."

The increase in abortion pill facilities most probably are the offshoot of the United States Food and Drug Administration's amended policy during the pandemic that removed the need for in-person consultation prior to the prescription of abortion pills. This is a policy reinstated by the FDA last month.