The Mission of Choices Women’s Medical Center is to offer to all our patients the highest quality medical care in a warm, sensitive, compassionate and confidential setting and to give them the knowledge they need to live healthy lives. Our mission and commitment to our patients cross all borders, geographical as well as age, gender identity, nationality and culture. Women’s reproductive health is at the core of our services, including a full range of gynecological testing, treatment and Well-Woman Care; birth control; abortion services to 24 weeks; and a complete prenatal program.
While Choices has expanded to include a full range of reproductive health care and many other services, what remains constant is the same commitment to our patients as our initial mission demanded for our abortion care: to serve patients’ needs with compassion and understanding, with the highest level of skill and training, and to empower them with knowledge. A Teen Program includes free pregnancy testing for girls under 18 years old, specialized counseling and other services.
Since its founding in 1971 by Merle Hoffman, Choices has developed many other services to meet the needs of the expanding communities it serves, including LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming, teenagers and seniors. These programs include Counseling and HIV/STD Testing and Treatment and basic preventive care.
Health education is an integral and important part of our mission, and Choices offers no-cost classes and workshops to public and private schools, community and health organizations. To promote women’s health in the United States and abroad, Merle Hoffman founded the Choices Global Institute of Healing and Education, a charitable organization that raises public awareness about women’s health issues and provides support to underserved women and their families.
Merle Hoffman founded Choices Women’s Medical Center shortly after New York State made abortion legal two years before the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Our name, “Choices,” stands for Creative Health Organization for Information, Counseling and Educational Services.
All services are completely confidential for patients of all ages, with no parental or partner consent or notification needed for any of them. We can sign up people for presumptive (emergency) Medicaid for same-day pregnancy-related services, and we take all insurances. Financial counselors are available to help you. Same-day or next-day appointments are available.
Choices Women’s Medical Center is licensed by the State of New York as an outpatient medical facility and meets its regulations for all healthcare providers. Choices is accredited by the AAAHC (American Association of Ambulatory Health Care), and repeatedly meets their highest level of standards. Choices also has been honored with awards from community and education organizations for its free-of-charge community workshops and classes on important health issues.
To provide truthful, compassionate and non-judgmental health care of the highest quality to everyone seeking our services.
To enable everyone who comes to Choices to become an active participant in their own healthcare and empowered to ask questions and seek answers.
In matters of reproductive health, women and their lives must be primary, and women must be trusted to know what they need and what is best for them and their families.
To provide specialized and individualized care to LGBTG and gender-nonconforming people; to teenagers and seniors.
To promote fact-based education and knowledge among all our patients and the broader community.
Merle Hoffman is an internationally known leader in the struggle for women’s rights, a healthcare pioneer, founder of women’s health, political, and reproductive rights organizations and a prize-winning writer and publisher. Her work spans 50 years and continues today, proving to be more essential and relevant than ever in the ongoing fight for women’s human rights, including the ability to make their own reproductive choices.
Merle Hoffman established Choices Women’s Medical Center, one of the country’s first abortion centers, in 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationally. She continues to serve as President and CEO, implementing and expanding her initial vision of empowering women and girls through reproductive choice and the best care possible. Today Choices is one of the nation’s largest comprehensive women’s medical facilities, providing abortion services, birth control, gynecology, pre-natal care, Behavioral Health Counseling, Tele-Medicine, LGBTQ programs and extensive educational outreach to schools, prisons and women’s organizations.
Based on her observations of doctor-patient miscommunication, Merle Hoffman developed the concept and guidelines of “Patient Power,” an early model for the patient-centered health movement. Hoffman considered many standard medical practices of the day sexist, invasive, and paternalistic. In response, she developed many of the patient-centered tenets and practices that have since become standards of consumer oriented medical care, forming the backbone of the Federal “Patient Bill of Rights.”
These practices include informed consent, access to medical records, second opinions and participation in treatment plans. Hoffman was also among the first to urge women to question their doctor about everything from their training and background to the reason for prescribing certain medications. Her work was noted by Francis X. Clines in The New York Times (Dec. 19, 1978) as “making women feel powerful.”
In November 1974, Hoffman was the initiator and moderator for New York City’s first Women’s Health Forum, with speakers including Barbara Ehrenreich and Congresswoman Bella Abzug. In 1975, Hoffman helped develop and introduce a program to diagnosis women with breast cancer in an outpatient center. In 1982 Hoffman started a pathbreaking program known as STOP (Second Treatment Option Program). Prior to its inception women were not consulted as to their diagnosis or treatment options. Previously, doctors had simply removed the breast of any woman whose biopsy came back positive while she was still anesthetized and before she had the opportunity to learn about her options or make decisions.
Merle Hoffman is the co-founder and first President of the National Abortion Federation (1976), uniting providers and advocates. She founded the activist New York Pro-Choice Coalition in 1985 to counteract the growing threat of anti-abortion terrorism in New York.
Hoffman was one of the first activists to criticize Operation Rescue, an organization dedicated to ending access to abortion by blockading clinics. When Operation Rescue announced it would shut down abortion services in New York City for a week in the spring of 1988, the New York Pro-Choice Coalition responded by rebranding those days “Reproductive Freedom Week,” organizing a counter-protest that drew 1,300 activists and supporters.
In 1989 Hoffman and the Coalition also publicly challenged New York City’s Cardinal John O’Connor’s support of Operation Rescue, which she deemed “violent to women,” by organizing the first pro-choice civil disobedience action outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Several hundred participated, and nine pro-choice protestors were arrested.
When Hoffman learned about the lack of birth control options available to women in Russia, she organized and led a trip of physicians and counselors from Choices on a well-publicized educational exchange there. In 1984 she began working with Russian hospitals and doctors to develop CHOICES East, the first feminist outpatient medical center in Russia and organized Russian feminists to deliver an open letter to Boris Yeltsin on the state of women’s health care.
In 2019 she traveled again on a health mission to Russia with Project Kesher and, with Choices staff members, spoke to and advised many health professionals in Moscow.
Hoffman is the publisher of On the Issues Magazine, which began as a print publication in 1983 and went online in 2008. It featured provocative interviews with pathbreaking leaders in the feminist, civil and human rights and environmental movements, among other articles. Hoffman was awarded the prestigious Front Page Award for Political Commentary in 2010 from the Newswoman’s Club of New York for her editorial, “Selecting the Same Sex.”
In 1982, Hoffman produced, directed and wrote the documentary film, Abortion: A Different Light, and in 1986 she produced and hosted the first feminist TV show, MH: On the Issues, a syndicated 30-minute cable TV show. A documentary film, “25 Years of Choices: Feminism from the Ground Up,” was produced to honor her and her work.
Merle Hoffman’s memoir, Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom, was published in 2012 by Feminist Press. Publishers Weekly opined that “she eloquently chronicles more than three decades of struggles to keep abortion legal. Readers will learn much about her drive to recast ‘reproductive freedom as a positive moral value.'” Kirkus Reviews called it “An inspiring story of a woman who participated in ‘one of the greatest revolutions in history’—and is still at the forefront of the struggle.”
Created by Merle Hoffman in 2015 to help immigrant and minority women who live in shame-and-honor cultures, Choices Global Institute of Healing and Education is a nonprofit foundation to support projects in the USA and internationally that promote health services and education for underserved women.
Our mission is to help women worldwide.
Hoffman’s Archive Collection, which features the On the Issues back catalog, Choices documents, and thousands of pages on the Reproductive Rights movement is in the Merle Hoffman Papers Collection, 1994 to 2001, at Duke University.
In 2011, Hoffman endowed a Director’s position for Sustained Leadership of the Duke University Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.
One of her most recent actions was organizing support for the massive protests in Poland in Fall 2020 against a draconian abortion ban. She authored a letter of support “To the Great Women of Poland” which was signed by prominent feminists in the U.S., including Phyllis Chesler, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf and many others. The letter began, “The world is in awe of your principled activism and is filled with admiration for your courage and commitment.” It was published in Poland’s largest daily news outlet, Gazeta Wyborcza, on Nov. 10, 2020 and spread widely on social media.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Choices Women’s Medical Center are included on this page. Frequently Asked Questions are answered about Abortion in General, Surgical Abortion, Medical Abortion or Abortion Pill, Gynecology, and Pregnancy/Pre-Natal on separate pages. Choices is woman-owned and operated with mainly women staff.
As one of the first legal abortion facilities in the country, Choices was founded in 1971 in Queens and has been offering the highest standard of care with complete confidentiality since that time. We are currently celebrating our 50th Anniversary.
Choices is privately owned by Merle Hoffman who founded Choices in 1971 shortly after New York State made abortion legal and two years before it was legalized nationally. It is not a free clinic, but, at the same time, we help patients work out financing so that abortion can be free or low-cost. We accept most insurance plans as well as NY Medicaid. New York State residents, including Nassau and Suffolk County residents, can apply for Presumptive (Emergency) Medicaid on site for an appointment that day. We also accept cash and all major credit cards. We partner with funding agencies that can help cover the cost.
Yes, we do provide the “Morning After” Pill at Choices. Also known as Plan B, the “Morning After Pill” helps prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. Plan B is NOT an abortion pill. It does NOT affect or end an existing pregnancy. Plan B is covered by most insurances and Medicaid.
Yes, Choices offers free urine pregnancy testing. The urine pregnancy test detects pregnancy approximately four weeks after conception or about two weeks after your first missed period. This test can detect pregnancy as early as 10 days after conception. All testing can be performed on a walk-in basis.
Yes. You do not need to tell your parents or partner or get their permission to have an abortion in NY or NYC. There are no age restrictions or age of consent requirements in NY or NYC.
It is always important to give accurate and current information on medical records. Your correct name, address, phone number and medical history are important for many reasons, particularly in case of emergency.
No. Your partner does not need to know. Your services are completely confidential. If you are using insurance to pay for services, it is possible that your partner will have access to the information from your insurance company if you are jointly insured. In this case, you can consider paying by cash or money order.
Our Insurance Specialists can help you contact your insurance company to discuss their policy on abortion confidentiality. Emergency Medicaid and other payment methods can be completely confidential.
If you have had a C-Section, there are certain limitations for surgical abortions at Choices. If you are in your first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had more than 3 C-sections. If you are 13-17 weeks pregnant, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had more than 2 C-sections. If you are 18-20 weeks, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had more than 1 C-Section. If you are more than 20 weeks pregnant, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had a C-Section.
Yes. If you need help paying for your abortion, Choices can help you in several ways. You may qualify for Emergency Medicaid which covers pregnancy-related services, including both medical (“the pill”) and surgical abortions. Click here to take our Emergency Medicaid Quiz to see if you qualify.
We can help secure funds for you from a funding agency or organization that will cover the cost. We can help you work out a reasonable self-pay plan. Please call 718-349-9100, Ext 520 to speak with a Choices financial counselor who can assist you in abortion funding related questions.
If you live in New York, you can apply for Emergency Medicaid in our office to cover all of the costs of an abortion. Click here to take our Emergency Medicaid Quiz to see if you qualify.
If you already have regular Medicaid from New York state, you will not have to pay out of pocket for abortion services. We accept all insurances, including State Medicaid from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland.
In addition, Choices works with funding organizations that raise money for abortions to make sure no one will be turned away because of financial need.