Our new Carbondale clinic will allow us to continue to provide essential abortion care for folks in our communities. A three-hour drive from Memphis and Nashville and a stop on the Amtrak line, this facility will be the Southernmost abortion provider in Illinois, a lifeline for people in the Southeast who need an abortion. We’re also asking you to support our partners who stand alongside us to make sure no one is left behind.
The Supreme Court will issue a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization over the summer. Based on their previous ruling over SB 8, a 6-week ban in Texas that has been in effect for more than 8 months, we know that regardless of the specifics of the decision, there is no way to “win” for abortion rights in the Dobbs case. By the end of the year, Tennessee lawmakers will decimate abortion access in our state.
But CHOICES has a bold plan to make sure that we can continue to provide high-quality reproductive health care in our Memphis community, take care of the 4,000 people a year who depend on us for abortion care, and expand the footprint of our innovative whole-person model of care.
At CHOICES: Center for Reproductive Health, we pride ourselves on our long history of firsts in response to the needs of our community. Founded in 1974, CHOICES was the first abortion provider in Memphis. In the early 2000s, CHOICES accomplished more firsts for our community, including introducing gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender individuals, contraception and preconception care for people living with HIV, and fertility assistance for same-sex couples. Most recently, CHOICES built the first birth center in Memphis and became the first nonprofit in the US to offer full-spectrum reproductive health care, ranging from abortion to midwifery-based birth and perinatal services, all under one roof.
We plan to provide abortions in Memphis up until the moment that these new bans go into effect, but we aren’t going anywhere. Our Memphis clinic will remain open to provide all the other important services, ranging from no-cost birth control, gender-affirming care, midwifery, and general sexual and reproductive health care.
Marching boldly forward to care for our community is simply who we are, and that’s why CHOICES is proud to announce that we are opening a clinic in Carbondale, Illinois.
Our new Carbondale clinic will allow us to continue to provide essential abortion care for folks in our communities. A three-hour drive from Memphis and Nashville and a stop on the Amtrak line, this facility will be the Southernmost abortion provider in Illinois, a lifeline for people in the Southeast who need an abortion. Moreover, Illinois is a shining example of how states can protect abortion access and the right to abortion without restriction. A 2019 state law protecting access to abortion makes the state, in the words of Gov. Pritzker, “beacon of hope for [people] who need reproductive health.”
The location is what originally drew us to Carbondale, but the incredible heart of the Carbondale community is what let us know we had found a second home for CHOICES. We’ve been traveling to Carbondale since November of 2021 and could not have imagined a warmer welcome from the community leaders, healthcare professionals, and nonprofits with whom we met.
Our legacy of responding to the needs of the community remains now that CHOICES is expanding into Southern Illinois, and as such, we’re proud to announce that in addition to abortion care, our new Carbondale clinic will provide gender-affirming care from the first day we open our doors in September 2022. And we won’t stop there. CHOICES is committed to being an asset to the communities we serve, and we believe deeply that abortion belongs within the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare. So, we’ve developed a phased approach to gradually increase services at our new clinic with the goal of becoming a full-spectrum provider, including a birth center.
CHOICES envisions a world where sexual and reproductive healthcare is recognized as an essential human right, and we will never stop working to realize our vision.
In Tennessee, you don’t need to look far to imagine what abortion access will look like if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Abortion care is already out of reach for so many people. Even though abortion is legal, politicians have passed laws and created obstacles that treat people differently. Young people, people living in poverty, and people of color must work twice as hard to make it past the barriers to receive care. That need will grow in the wake of the human rights crisis caused by the lack of access to abortion care.
We know that people with privilege will always be able to overcome the barriers anti-choice state lawmakers put in place because they can afford to spend the money, take time off work, arrange childcare, and do what they need to do to get to a clinic. But, we’re taking action so that every single person in our community who needs an abortion can get the care they need, build their families in a safe and patient-centered space when they’re ready, and live in thriving communities — and it’s going to take all of us working together.
So, yes, but we’re also asking you to support our partners who stand alongside us to make sure no one is left behind. Please support abortion funds, like our partners at ARC-Southeast and Midwest Access Coalition, to make sure that everyone who needs an abortion can travel to get one whether or not they can afford gas money for the 3-hour drive.
The situation in Tennessee is dire, but not without hope. We already know how powerful our community can be, and we have no doubt that we can make it through this storm together.