Press Release Memphis, TN – CHOICES will break ground on September 06, 2018 at 1000 A.M. on a revolutionary new center which will provide comprehensive reproductive health care to Memphians. CHOICES’ new facility will be the country’s first nonprofit clinic to offer fully comprehensive reproductive health services including abortion care, LGBTQ+ inclusive fertility assistance, transition-related care for transgender people, integrated mental health services, prenatal care and a midwife-led birth center. The center will house the city’s first birth center where midwives are the primary caregivers and birth takes place outside of a hospital setting.
CHOICES is an independent non-profit clinic, founded in 1974 “What we’re building is accomprehensive reproductive health model, from fertilization assistance to pap smears to birth control to breast exams, abortion care, prenatal care and birth care and menopause management,”,’ says Rebecca Terrell, CHOICES’ Executive Director. In addition, CHOICES serves transgender patients who are managing their hormones with replacement therapy. “Our patients are just as different as the faces you see walking down the street,” Terrell said.
CHOICES new facility will integrate mental health services with physical health care. Licensed counselors and social workers will be available to all patients. CHOICES operates from the fees it charges plus local and national financial support from donors. Some national organizations have also provided substantial support in part because of interest in seeing if the CHOICES model of providing comprehensive services can be replicated elsewhere.
CHOICES new center will also address injustices regarding pregnancy and birth care in Memphis. Women in the United States are more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes than other women in the developed world. Research suggests that half of these deaths are preventable. Considerable racial disparities in pregnancy-related mortality exist. The risk of pregnancy-related deaths for black women is 3 to 4 times higher than those of white women. During 2011-2014, the pregnancy-related mortality ratios were 12.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for white women, 40.0 deaths per 100,000 live births for black women, 17.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for women of other races.
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A capital campaign has been underway over the last year to raise the 4.2 million dollars needed for the project. CHOICES is less than $500,000 away from that goal. The final push to raise the balance of the project budget will focus on the “Quilt of Courage” which will be an original, quilt-themed art piece that will be prominently displayed in the new center. The piece is being designed by local artist Kiersten Williams, and will be a visual representation of the diversity of people who voice their courage for CHOICES. Squares on the Quilt of Courage can be purcahsed at CHOICES website.