If you want low cost birth control around the Memphis area, you had better be willing to put up with a little proselytizing while you get it. The Shelby County commission has voted 9 to 4 to take their Title X funding away from Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region and instead give it to Christ Community Health Services, a Christian religious health care organization that “will provide high-quality health care to the underserved in the context of distinctively Christian service.”
So what will change for those who need contraception? First of all, Emergency Contraception will no longer be available on site due to “religious objections,” despite the fact that EC is not an abortifacient. They will instead offer it through a “third party,” which will delay the amount of time it will take for a woman to get the medication, making it much more likely she will miss the window of the few days that the preventative drug can work.
Also new to former Planned Parenthood patients? The sermons that may accompany their health screenings and birth control pickups. One Christ Community patient testified at the commission that, “[S]he received a plastic box of birth control pills that she held up before the audience. She said Christ Community provides high-quality medical services, but that they sometimes come with a ‘sermon.’ She said that she had once been told: ‘If only my relationships with people and God were right, I would have fewer health problems.’”
And of course, you can forget any sort of referral if you do decide you want an abortion, or even a follow up with a clinic that is associated with abortions. Christ Community Health Services’ lead physician made it clear that “staffers will not direct patients to abortion clinics or make formal referrals to providers who terminate pregnancies.”
But don’t worry. They said they’ll still love you and will see you if you come back for a follow up after having one. Just be ready for a little more preaching.
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