FAQs

About CHOICES

We accept most major insurance providers, as well as TennCare (Tennessee Medicaid). Call our clinic for information about exactly which policies are accepted. If you do not have insurance, we also have a “cash pay” option, with financial assistance available for some patients.

Our clinic is located at 1203 Poplar Avenue. The parking lot entrance is on Bellevue Avenue.

Abortion

At CHOICES, you need to be at least 6 weeks since your last normal menstrual cycle to have an abortion.

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled seizure disorders
  • Bleeding disorders
  • You will complete several forms including a Medical History form, Demographic Information form, Consent for Provision of Services form, and Consent for Ultrasound form
  • You will have an ultrasound. You may see the image if you wish, but you are not required to. You may request a copy of the image if you wish.
  • You will spend time with a patient educator discussing your Patient Concerns form, eligibility for financial assistance, and any other questions you may have about your procedure. Your patient educator will also schedule your second appointment.
  • You will meet with the doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of childbirth and abortion.
  • You will have lab tests done, including a measure of your hematocrit and Rh typing. We will also check your vital signs to make sure you are in good health for the procedure.
  • We will check your vital signs to make sure you are in good health for the procedure.
  • You will see the nurse, where you will be given pre-operative medications to help alleviate the pain and discomfort of the procedure. The nurse will also provide you with your aftercare instructions.
  • In some cases, additional pre-operative medications are administered (Misoprostol) to prepare your cervix for the procedure.
  • The doctor will perform the procedure (more details below).
  • You will spend 15 minutes in the recovery room before being discharged to go home.

The procedural abortion is very effective. It works 98 out of every 100 times. You will follow up with a health care provider to be sure it worked, and you are well.

Procedural abortions are very safe, but there are risks with any medical procedure. Statistically, abortion is safer than childbirth. The risks increase the longer you are pregnant. Possible risks include:

  • an allergic reaction
  • blood clots in the uterus
  • incomplete abortion — part of the pregnancy is left inside the uterus
  • infection
  • injury to the cervix or other organs
  • undetected pregnancy outside of the uterus
  • very heavy bleeding

Most often, these complications are simple to treat with medicine or other treatments. In extremely rare cases, very serious complications may be fatal.

  • We will check your vital signs to make sure you are in good health for the procedure.
  • You will see the nurse, where you will be given instructions for taking the pills, as well as after-care instructions.
  • You will meet with the doctor to discuss how to use the abortion pill and how the medication abortion process works.
  • The doctor will give you the first abortion pill to take at the clinic (the rest will be taken 24-48 hours later.
  • You will also be given some cramping and anti-nausea medications, as well as antibiotics.
  • During your visit, you will take a dose of Mifeprex, which stops the body from making a hormone that supports pregnancy.
  • You will take a second medication, Misoprostol, anytime between 24 and 48 hours from the time you took the abortion pill in the clinic. You will have four pills. You should place two of the pills in each side of your mouth between your jaw and your cheek, and allow them to dissolve. These pills will cause your cervix to soften, so that your uterus can empty.
  • The miscarriage process should begin within an hour after taking the Misoprostol.
  • You can expect heavy bleeding, passing blood clots, cramping, and in some cases, mild nausea.
  • While the experience is different for every individual, the most intense part is typically 4-6 hours after taking the Misoprostol.

The abortion pill is very effective. It works about 92 out of every 100 times. You’ll follow up with a health care provider after your abortion, so you can be sure that it worked, and that you are well.

Most patients can have a medication abortion safely, but all medical procedures have some risks. Rare, but possible risks include:

  • an allergic reaction to either of the pills
  • incomplete abortion — part of the pregnancy is left inside the uterus
  • infection
  • undetected ectopic pregnancy
  • very heavy bleeding

Most often, these complications are simple to treat with medicine or other treatments. In extremely rare cases, very serious complications may be fatal.

Yes. However, in the state of Tennessee you are required to have the permission of one of your parents or guardian. If you are unable to get permission from your parent or guardian or you do not have a legal guardian you can petition juvenile court to grant you a judicial bypass. CHOICES can refer you to an attorney that will work with you free of charge through this process. A minor from a surrounding state may also use this process. Please call us at 901-274-3550 for more information.

Yes. We believe that no one should ever have to make a decision between paying their rent, feeding their family, and paying for healthcare. Financial assistance from the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and CHOICES’ Patient Assistance Fund exists to help make sure that our patients do not have to make that decision. Call us at 901-274-3550 and ask to speak to a patient educator for more information. If you would like to donate to the Patient Assistance Fund, please click here.

Some insurance plans cover abortion, and many cover family planning services. Check with your plan to see if elective abortion is covered.  If so, CHOICES can either bill your insurance company, or provide you with the documentation of services you will need to submit to your insurance company for any reimbursements allowed by your policy.

Yes, CHOICES provides all services by appointment only.

One of CHOICES' physicians will call you after your medication abortion to check in and make sure the medications worked properly. If necessary, you will be scheduled to come in for an in person follow-up appointment. 

The discomfort felt during abortion comes from muscle cramps, similar but stronger than menstrual cramps. Patients may experience mild to heavy cramps during the procedure. To help with pain management, we recommend taking 800 mg of ibuprofen (e.g. Advil)  or acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) every 6 hours starting the day before your appointment and including at least 1 dose the day of your appointment before you come to the clinic. You should also plan to take 600-800 mg of ibuprofen or acetaminophen every 6 hours for 3-5 days after your procedure.

You may elect to have IV sedation for your abortion procedure at CHOICES. There is an additional charge for this service.

If you have the ability to take the next day off work, it’s great to be able to “take it easy” that day. Avoid aspirin because it can increase bleeding. We recommend not lifting heavy objects for the same reason. You may have cramping as the uterus returns to its pre-pregnant size. Other than cramps, you are not really “sore.” You can certainly go out that day, but if you can “take it easy” and stay home relaxing, you will probably feel better. You don’t have to stay in bed.

More information is available on the aftercare handout you will receive at the clinic. For two weeks after an abortion, avoid sex or putting anything in your vagina because it may increase the risk of infection. At our clinic, we give patients a 24 hour hotline number they can call to reach the clinic if they have any questions, concerns, or problems after the abortion.

A normal period should begin 4 to 8 weeks after your abortion procedure. It varies depending on the individual. The body may or may not need some time to re-establish its cycles.

For procedural abortions, it is not possible to still be pregnant after the procedure is completed. It is possible that initially the pregnancy could be “missed” during an early (5-7 weeks) procedure, but the doctor carefully evaluates the tissue that was removed from your uterus right after the procedure to make sure all the fetal tissue is there. If they don’t find all of it, they will tell you and re-aspirate while you’re still there at your appointment. This means that you can leave CHOICES that day feeling 100% sure that you are no longer pregnant.

For medication abortion procedures, which are effective 92 out of 100 times, you will need to have a follow-up appointment to be sure that the abortion procedure was completed. In the unlikely chance that the medication procedure does not work completely, you will need to then have a procedural (aspiration) abortion procedure to ensure that the abortion is complete. This additional procedure costs you no extra money–CHOICES will cover that cost for you. After this procedure, you can be 100% sure that you are no longer pregnant.

The possibility of fertility problems is the same as if you had never had any abortions — abortion does not affect fertility. The fact that you have gotten pregnant in the past indicates you are fertile and you can most likely get pregnant again. Statistically, people become less fertile as they get older, but statistics cannot predict fertility in any one individual.

Post-abortion complications are rare – they occur in less than 1% of abortions. Of those less than 1% of abortions, very few result in the inability to become pregnant.

Yes. Check out our resource page.

Birth Control

People use birth control for a variety of reasons, whether it be to prevent pregnancy, regulate periods, treat a medical condition, or a number of other valid reasons.

Making decisions about birth control is not easy – there are many things to think about. Learning about birth control methods you or your partner can use and talking with your doctor are good ways to get started.

There is no “best” method of birth control. Each method has its pros and cons, and everyone has their own unique preferences for which method they like to use. The birth control method you choose should take into account your overall health, sexual preferences (your sexual orientation, how often you have sex, the number of sexual partners you have, etc.), if you want to have children, how effective each method is at preventing pregnancy, any potential side effects, and your comfort level with using the method.

There are many methods of birth control that a person can use. Talk with your doctor or nurse to help you figure out what method is best for you, or check out the resources on our birth control page for more information.

No. Condoms are the only birth control method that is proven to help protect you from HIV and other STIs. If you are allergic to latex, there are condoms made of polyurethane that you can use.

Emergency contraception, or emergency birth control, is used to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex (sex without using birth control). “Unprotected” can mean that no method of birth control was used. It can also mean that a birth control method was used but did not work (like a condom breaking). Or, a person may have forgotten to take their birth control pills, or may have been forced to have sex when they did not want to. Emergency contraception should not be used as regular birth control. Other birth control methods are much better at preventing pregnancy. Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs or HIV. Emergency contraception can be a pill (like Plan B or ella), or a Paragard® copper IUD.

Yes. Emergency contraceptive pills are also known as “morning after pills,” Plan B, or next day contraception.

Yes! We often have emergency contraception pills available for free without an appointment – but please call us first to make sure we have it available before coming in.

No. Emergency contraception can keep someone from becoming pregnant, but it will not end an existing pregnancy. The abortion pill (Mifeprex, also called RU-486) works after pregnancy (after a fertilized egg has attached to the uterus). The abortion pill makes the uterus force out the egg, ending the pregnancy.

LGBTQ+ Health

When your health care provider knows about your sexual orientation and gender identity, they can give you even better health care. However, it is understandable that you may be afraid to come out to your doctor, especially if you’ve had bad experiences coming out to other folks in the past.

Because your provider can then ask you more specific questions about your sexual practices and know what kinds of tests they should run. If partners are regularly having anal sex, then the provider can offer an anal pap smear. If you are trans, then your provider can understand why you may be taking hormones and be sure to not prescribe something that will react badly with testosterone or estrogen.

Yes, there are some risks. If you work with a physician or nurse practitioner, then you can minimize the risks. Do not believe everything you read on websites about hormones! The most accurate information can be gathered by talking to a trans-friendly health professional

PAP Smears

A PAP smear is a test used to screen patients for signs of cervical cancer.

If you’re over 21 years old:

  • Most people who have a cervix need a PAP smear every 1-3 years starting by age 21.
  • Some people with an abnormal PAP smear result will need to repeat a PAP smear every 6 months.

If you’re under 21 years old:

  • If you have been sexually active for 3 years or more, you should have a PAP smear.
  • All sexually active people should have a PAP smear by the time they are 21 regardless of how many years you have been sexually active.

Pregnancy

It is possible to have some light irregular bleeding during pregnancy, but it should not be like a “normal” period. Some people can confuse this for their period because often it can come right around the time they were expecting their normal period. The irregular bleeding or spotting that can occur during pregnancy is often a dark brown color or a light pinkish.

STIs and HIV

The most common symptom of an STI is having no symptoms at all. This is why regular STI testing and condoms are so important! Some people also experience the following symptoms when they have an STI:

  • Itching around the vagina
  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during urination
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Sore throats in people who have oral sex
  • Pain in or around the anus
  • Sores on the vagina, penis, anus, tongue or throat
  • Small blisters or scabs on the vagina, penis, or anus
  • Soft, flesh-colored warts around the vagina, penis, or anus
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes, Types 1 and 2
  • HIV/AIDS

You can get and pass STIs through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Trichomoniasis can also picked up from contact with damp or moist objects such as towels, wet clothing, or a toilet seat, if the genital area gets in contact with these damp objects. Some STIs cause no symptoms, but can still be passed from person to person even if there are no symptoms.

Depending on the STI, your practitioner may do a pelvic exam or genital exam, cultures may be collected of discharge or sores for the precise diagnosis of the illness. Urine test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea is available, and a blood sample may be drawn to test for Syphilis and HIV.

The treatment depends on the type of STI. For some STIs, treatment may involve taking medicine or getting a shot. For other STIs that can’t be cured, like herpes or HIV, there is treatment to relieve the symptoms and help prevent spreading it to sexual partners.

Teens

Yes, but the requirements vary state by state. In the state of Tennessee, a minor under the age of 18 must have permission from one parent or guardian. If you are unable to obtain permission from your parent or guardian, you may petition juvenile court for a judicial bypass. The staff at CHOICES can provide you with the name of an attorney who will help you through the judicial bypass process free of charge.

Yes, but the requirements vary state by state. In the state of Tennessee, a minor under the age of 18 must have permission from one parent or guardian. If you are unable to obtain permission from your parent or guardian, you may petition juvenile court for a judicial bypass. The staff at CHOICES can provide you with the name of an attorney who will help you through the judicial bypass process free of charge.

Yes. In the state of Tennessee, minors between ages of 13 and 17 can request and receive family planning and STI testing services without the permission of their parents or guardians.