This is the second violent act against the clinic since an evangelical protest organization moved in a year ago, ramping up anti-abortion rhetoric in the city
By MARISA KABAS
Jan 7, 2022
As the ruins of the Knoxville Planned Parenthood smoldered in the background, vocal Pastor Ken Peters, a prominent anti-abortion figure, spoke to a reporter from the local ABC affiliate. “This is not gonna stop abortion,” he told them. “It’s the changing of hearts and minds, it’s the changing of laws. This might temporarily halt abortion, but this doesn’t stop it. We just pray that nobody was hurt and that who whoever did this is caught and prosecuted, and we pray that abortion would stop right here in the state of Tennessee.”
This past New Year’s Eve, less than one year after a gunman shot out the glass doors of the Planned Parenthood in Knoxville, Tennessee, the entire clinic burned to the ground in the midst of a $2.2 million renovation and expansion project. (No one was injured.) Investigators from the Knoxville Fire Department have ruled it an intentional fire — an arson, started by a person or persons who, just like the gunman, have yet to be identified. As investigators continue putting together the pieces, abortion rights activists can’t help but wonder: Did the rhetoric of Pastor Peters’s extreme anti-abortion church literally help stoke the flames?
August 2, 2021
Just a quick walk through the parking lot of Choices-Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, in this legendary music mecca, speaks volumes about access to abortion in the American South. Parked alongside the polished SUVs and weathered sedans with Tennessee license plates are cars from Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida and, on many days, Alabama, Georgia and Texas.
Choices is one of two abortion clinics in the Memphis metro area, with a population of 1.3 million. While that might not seem like much for women seeking a commonplace medical procedure, it represents a wealth of access compared with Mississippi, which has just one abortion clinic for the entire state of 3 million people.
Jul 03, 2020
As pro-choice advocates in Louisiana breathe a sigh of relief after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the June Medical Services case last week, Tennessee is gearing up for a fight against one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the country—one that advocates say targets people of color.
Used as a bargaining chip while negotiating the state budget, the bill was passed in the early morning hours of June 19 when the Tennessee Senate made a last-minute deal with the House to pass a six-week abortion ban, which is unconstitutional because it makes it medically and logistically impossible for most people to determine that they are pregnant and arrange for abortion care.
Why Tennessee’s Quickly Passed Abortion Ban Is Racist
June 25, 2020
In the early-morning hours of June 19, the Tennessee Senate rallied to pass a last-minute healthcare bill. It had nothing to do with mitigating the coronavirus pandemic that had claimed the lives of more than 530 Tennesseans, nor did it address the widespread police violence on display in cities across the country. Instead, it was a wide-ranging anti-abortion bill. Passed in the dead of night after back-room negotiating with Republicans in the Tennessee House, it included one of the most extreme abortion bans in the U.S., banning the procedure at six weeks, before many people even know they’re pregnant.
Simply put, Tennessee just signed into law a near-total abortion ban.
Tennessee lawmakers pass fetal heartbeat abortion bill backed by governor
by Veronica Stracqualursi and Caroline Kelly, CNN
Fri June 19, 2020
Washington (CNN)Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill backed by the state's Republican governor that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Early Friday morning, the Tennessee Senate approved the bill, 23-5, after the House had passed the legislation earlier, 68-17. Republicans control both chambers.
The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing Abortion Providers to Make Impossible Decisions
Mar 24, 2020
The Choices Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, a small clinic in Tennessee, had two doctors providing abortion care until a few days ago. The center, which draws patients from all over the region, sees anywhere between 20 and 40 patients a week, according to its assistant director Katy Leopard: They come from Mississippi, where there is only one clinic providing this kind of care, and from Arkansas, where abortions can be hard to come by, and sometimes from even as far as Kentucky.
In the United States, an estimated 11.3 million women live more than an hour’s drive from an abortion provider, and often doctors will split their time between clinics to provide more geographically comprehensive care. Last year, the Los Angeles Times shadowed a provider who performed 50 abortions in 60 hours when she “commuted” from California to Texas, a feat that now given a roiling pandemic and orders from state governments to “just stay home” seems difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. But clinic workers and reproductive health advocates are trying to manage, considering that even in moments of global crisis, unwanted pregnancies don’t stop.
The Clinic Revolutionizing Care for Women Who Want Babies—and Women Who Don’t
AND IT’S IN TENNESSEE?!
Why should abortion services be separated from all other natal medical services? Because of abortion-related stigma. But finally, in at least one facility, they’re not.
Updated Dec. 22, 2019
I’ve had one abortion, three miscarriages, one ectopic pregnancy, and two live births. To GOP politicians, including and most notably the president of the United States, that means I’m worthy of one high-priced condominium in hell, three episodes of unfettered compassion, one state-mandated and medically impossible surgery, and, even though they’re the so-called party of “family values,” two joyful reminders that I live in a country that refuses to mandate paid family leave, equal pay, universal childcare, universal pre-K, and a seat at the political table.
But it also means I’ve been forced to procure necessary reproductive health care from a variety of establishments and via a number of doctors.
Tennessee man arrested for threatening to "shoot up" a Planned Parenthood
By Kate Smith
August 22, 2019
A Tennessee man was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C. The suspect is the third person to be charged for threatening violence against the abortion provider this month alone.
Authorities say that on August 13, Jacob Cooper, 20, used the website iFunny to post a message that said, "Make sure you tell them about how I plan to shoot up a planned parenthood facility in Washington D.C., on August 19th at 3pm."
GOP state lawmakers approve 'heartbeat' abortion bans
Sanya Mansoor and Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, March 7, 2019
ATLANTA -- Georgia and Tennessee joined a string of states moving to enact tough abortion restrictions when Republican House lawmakers passed bans on most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
During a tense debate in Atlanta on Thursday, several Democratic lawmakers opposed to the bill turned their backs to its author, Republican Rep. Ed Setzler. Earlier in the day, some Democratic lawmakers brought in wire coat hangers in reference to unsafe home abortions.
Anti-Choice Activists Want You To Hate Abortion Providers Like Me
By Willie J. Parker
Oct 17, 2018
I believe the most important thing you can do for another human being is to help them in their time of need. That’s why I am proud to be an abortion provider. I wake up every day knowing that I am helping patients make decisions that are right for their health, their lives and their families.
Because I am a Black man, a physician and an abortion provider, anti-abortion activists have called me many ugly things. Protestors have hurled racial epithets at me and accused me of being a “race traitor.” They have also called me “Kermit Gosnell.”