MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi said it has made the difficult decision to suspend abortion services after a federal court has allowed Tennessee’s ban on abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy to go into effect.
Better known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” this follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last week.
CEO of Planned Parenthood Ashley Coffield said they provided the last abortion yesterday, but they’re still providing other services and support.
Coffield said Tuesday afternoon no one should have to fear criminalization for accessing or providing essential healthcare.
“This decision was not made lightly and is due to Tennessee’s legal landscape which is extremely hostile to abortion access,” Coffield said. “Let’s be very clear, trained healthcare providers now have to deny patients the care they need because of the actions of Governor Lee and other anti-abortion politicians in Tennessee who have taken away the rights we have to control our own bodies and our reproductive healthcare decisions.”
She said her team is now navigating patients to care outside of Tennessee, providing logistical and financial support to those who need the care.
“Our doors are open and will remain open for a range of sexual and reproductive services our patients need. We have been open in Tennessee for more than 80 years and we’re not going anywhere,” Coffield said.
Advocates also said they’re now working on reaching out to make sure people get the support services they need and access to contraception.
Although Planned Parenthood has put a stop to their abortion services, CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health says they will continue to provide abortions for as long as they can under the abortion ban.
CHOICES will continue to provide abortions for as long as we are legally able. With the fetal cardiac activity ban in place, we will continue to provide abortions for patients who do not show cardiac activity on their fetal scans. Unfortunately, this new ban in conjunction with TN’s 48 hour waiting period law means that many people who need abortions are not able to receive them.
Serving patients is our number one priority, and even though we are heartbroken to have to turn people away, we are committed to do everything we can within the extremely restrictive environment in our state to serve those who need us. For all patients who need an abortion that we cannot serve, our staff will help you make other arrangements or you can use www.abortionfinder.org to find a clinic that can serve you.