MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friday, Mid-South abortion supporters offered solutions and options to women who are considering an abortion, now that the procedure is - or will soon be - essentially illegal in nearly every scenario in the region.
The issue became urgent in the hours following the Supreme Court ruling, which overturned Roe V. Wade that established the Constitutional right to an abortion in 1973.
Those with Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi said Friday afternoon abortions in Memphis were still being performed and will continue until Tennessee's scheduled triggered law - which will ban nearly all abortions - takes effect.
Those with Planned Parenthood said the facility will remain open in the months ahead, providing all women's health services except abortion, following the historic ruling.
"I am heartbroken that our worst fears have become a stark reality," Planned Parenthood Of Tennessee and North Mississippi CEO Ashley Coffield said.
Though devastated and disappointed Friday, Mid-South abortion supporters also offered hope to women in need of current or future services.
"We have to lean into our states that care about a women's right to choose that understand that reproductive rights is health care," Sen. Raumesh Akbari, (D) Shelby County, said.
Those at Planned Parenthood - which includes services in Memphis - said the with the overturning of Roe V. Wade, they'll ramp up the patient navigation and assistance program, which helps patients overcome barriers.
"We are going to continue to help patients access abortion. Even though we can't provide it here at home, we are going to do everything we can to make sure finances and logistics does not stand in the way of any person getting the abortion access they need," Coffield added.
Friday, Democratic state lawmakers also reiterated their ongoing efforts to help women get to and from abortions in states where it will still be legal, outside the Mid-South.
"Other organizations across the country are providing funding to assure that women can transfer from other states and still have their safe abortions," Rep. Torrey Harris, (D) Shelby County, said.
"We will not stop fighting," Rep. Karen Camper, (D) Shelby County, added. "The women in this country will not stop fighting, we will keep fighting until we have equal rights in this country."
In addition to Planned Parenthood, Memphis based abortion provider CHOICES is also scheduled to open in August a new clinic in Carbondale, IL - about three hours away from Memphis - which will be the closest such provider once trigger laws are in effect in all Mid-South states.