County commission approves $25K grant for CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 10:41 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A controversial resolution was debated Monday night during the Shelby County Commission meeting that would give thousands of dollars to a Memphis organization that offers reproductive health care.

Ultimately, the Shelby County Commission approved a $25,000 grant for CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health in Memphis, but it didn’t come without a lengthy and fiery debate.

“We have the sheriff deputies here to maintain order. This is a volatile issue,” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner.

The topic of abortions brought out a bigger-than-usual audience to the commission meeting.

“I believe every child is so sacred to God and they don’t only become sacred out the womb, they’re sacred from the moment of conception,” Timothy Potter who is against the grant.

At issue is a playground to be built at CHOICES Reproductive Health Center in Midtown. Nearly two dozen people signed up to speak on the issue.

Commissioners Tami Sawyer and Mickell Lowery sponsored a resolution to give $25,000 to the non-profit that boasts of being the only healthcare provider in the United States to provide birthing and abortion options under one roof.

CHOICES board member Sarah Jane Goodman said a new playground will be the perfect addition to their campus.

“It’s just nice to have a playground, a place for them to let the children relax or play,” she said. “We have so many midwife patients and they almost always have other children, and to give the children a place to play, mom a place to sit down.”

Several pro-life advocates questioned whether or not the funds could be used for more than purchasing equipment for a playground.

According to the application submitted by CHOICES, it says the grant will fund playground equipment and services to help low-income patients.

“They do not meet the criteria for the Shelby County Commission laid forth in their guidelines and its abortion. It’s playground money and services. So, read abortion. Abortion is not healthcare and women deserve better,” said Rachel Davis.

When asked to clarify the application, a Goodman said the funds will only be used for the new playground.

“It will be a huge addition to our community and the values CHOICES is trying to bring to the community, people we’re trying to lift up and help. So, I’m so appreciative for what they did in there today,” said Goodman.

Despite being sent down from the committee with an unfavorable recommendation, the resolution passed with an 8-5 vote

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