Birthing a Center 

Choices re-claims feminist health care with new site.

Rebecca Terrell is calling, um, malarkey.

Why do traditional health-care providers get to claim childbirth? No more.

Choices will break ground this week on a new, $4.2 million facility that will include more capacity for patients, a new mental health program, and a new, three-room center for birthing babies.

click to enlarge flyby_birthing_a_center_1.jpg

Midwife-assisted, out-of-hospital births are on the rise in the U.S. Choices hired midwives in January and the program is already at capacity, "so, clearly people want this," Terrell says.

The Choices center will be the first of its kind in Memphis. Yes, the move is about offering patients more services, Terrell says. But it's also about Choices re-claiming feminist health care. — Toby Sells

Memphis Flyer: Why did Choices decide to get into child births?

Rebecca Terrell: We consider ourselves a feminist health-care provider. That is our history. We were founded right after [Roe v. Wade]. We decided that feminist health care is re-claiming birth. We were like "why do [traditional health-care providers] get that?"

The idea of segregating abortion providers off — like culling the herd — was a very specific strategy of the far right. This makes [abortion providers] easier to target, easier to harass. So, people aren't, maybe, going to rush to their defense. In fact, that has been the case across the country.

We also saw the maternal health outcomes in the country are not good. The OB/GYN community, as a profession, hasn't really stepped up to the plate in terms of protecting women's right to choose. There are some providers who have been more outspoken than others. But, as a profession in general and especially in Tennessee, they've said it's just too much trouble, too politically controversial.

So, we're saying those services need to be provided in a single context. We're going to show that this is how those services should be provided.

MF: How did the capital campaign go?

RT: It's been a big, big challenge, but the community has — and is — stepping up. We still have about $500,000 to raise. By December, we hope to have it all.

We're looking locally and nationally. We've have a number of local foundations say, "Oh, you do abortions? We can't help you with this." I'm like, this is a birth center. But they'll say it doesn't matter.

MF: Tell me about the new mental health program.

RT: Sometimes we're like "Stigmas R' Us." Abortion is stigmatized. Sometimes in the South, even contraception is stigmatized.

We see a lot of transgender patients. We see a lot of gay and lesbian patients. The idea of midwifery is somewhat stigmatized in the medical community.

So, the program is about those stigmas. If you're transitioning, or if you have any kind of sexual assault issues that we see here. We will see postpartum depression. We'll see people with big life decisions. "Is this a pregnancy I want to continue? Or, is it not?"

Then, just like all of us, people need access to good mental health care. Look for the full interview at memphisflyer.com.

Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • ‘Boiling Point’

      Civil rights groups ask for answers in shooting death of Brandon Webber.
    • MEMernet

      A round-up of Memphis on the World Wide Web.
    • Dead Waters

      Mississippi River pollutants (again) create ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf.

The Latest

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (June 20-26)

News Blog

Debt Relief On the Way for Some ITT Tech Students

Memphis Gaydar

LGBTQ Job Fair Headed to Crosstown Next Week

Art Feature

“Bouguereau & America” at the Brooks

News Feature

Ounce of Change: The Latest Pot/Hemp News

Food & Wine

The Path of Andrew Michael’s Josh Hunt

Film Features

The Dead Don’t Die

Music Features

Son Volt’s Jay Farrar on His New Album and Woody Guthrie

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Toby Sells

Readers also liked…

  • More Power To You

    TVA considers big changes for an energy-efficient future.
    • Nov 16, 2017
  • Transit in Transition

    City wants feedback on the future of public transit in Memphis
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • Dead Water

    Tennessee contributes to massive toxic plume in Gulf of Mexico.
    • Nov 30, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2019

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation