Women seeking abortion services may have to cross state lines

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -More than 300,000 abortions were performed last year in 26 states where the procedure was legal.

But since that service will no longer be available in Tennessee, Mid-south women seeking an abortion will soon have to cross state lines.

NBC News recently got a look inside the big green building on Poplar Avenue, the oldest independent center for reproductive health in Memphis.

Choices Memphis Reproductive Health Care Clinic will soon close its doors for women seeking medical abortion services, taking a toll on women who are already some of the Bluff City’s underserved.

“Our patients are predominantly Black. The majority of them are uninsured or underinsured. The majority of them come to us for abortion care,” said Nikia Grayson Clinical Services Director.

In spite of the Supreme Court ruling to strike down Roe v. Wade, Choices has been preparing for months.

“We just kind of all thought this is going to be really bad for us. And so, I said to my executive team, there’s this place called Carbondale,” said Jennifer Pepper, CEO of Choices.

A three-hour trip north up Interstate 55 into Illinois will be the pipeline to abortion services for women currently served in Memphis.

They could make the journey to a clinic that Choices plans to open in August.

Will it be big enough to handle what is really going to be potentially a flood of patients right?

“Now this is a good question. I don’t know. I think that we will be the only clinic right now in the southern part of Illinois. We will handle as many patients as we can,” said Grayson.

Grayson said once the clinic opens, she will be taking women back and forth herself.

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