Analysis

Memphis abortion facility plans to build on-site playground

playground

A Memphis abortion facility received a $25,000 grant from the Shelby County Commission to build a playground on-site, in an eight to five vote along party lines.

CHOICES – Memphis Center for Reproductive Health in Midtown said it wants the playground so women visiting the facility can bring their children with them. And during the meeting in front of the commission, CHOICES staff called their business, which kills preborn children, “family friendly.”

“Many of our patients have children,” executive director Jennifer Pepper said. “The playground helps promote our family-friendly and inclusive environment.”

Meanwhile, former board member Sarah Jane Goodman told the commission that the women visiting CHOICES are seeking many services, including prenatal care. “Every one of you has people who come to CHOICES every week,” she said. “We want to provide a playground for the families.”

Yet according to the CHOICES annual report, the overwhelming majority of the “services” it provides are abortions.

READ: Planned Parenthood’s plummeting health care services prove it’s not focused on women’s health

In 2020, the facility reported only 45 births while committing 2,399 abortions. These live births were less than 2% of their total abortions. In total, CHOICES saw over 3,500 patients in 2020, but only performed 45 births. That’s barely over 1% of their patients.

CHOICES announced the opening of its birthing center in 2017, claiming this would make the facility “the first truly comprehensive non-profit reproductive health center in the nation.”

This line was repeated in the argument for the grant to build the playground. “We are the only truly comprehensive, reproductive health center in the nation that offers birth, prenatal care, wellness, and abortion services under one roof, and we are proud to make Memphis the home of this groundbreaking model,” Pepper told the Tennessee Lookout.

Memphis City Council member Dr. Jeff Warren likewise praised their birthing center, claiming it would improve medical care for minority women. “Our prenatal death rates among African-American women and infants is way too high,” he said. “CHOICES midwives are bringing this high touch, follow-up to prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care with excellent results. A playground for moms to bring their other children to play will help improve follow-up of those pregnancies in medical care for their moms.”

Yet despite the supposed comprehensive reproductive health offered at this center, CHOICES seems to focus on abortion — it’s right there in black and white in its own annual report. Yet it continues to downplay the truth. This playground will be used by women allowing their children to play while their siblings are aborted.

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