Let’s Talk About Sex {Health}, Baby

By Kjersti McDonald

It’s far too common that uninsured adults put off seeking out basic health care services because they are uninsured, or even insured but can’t afford them.

What a lot of people may not know is there are quite a few places in the Joplin area that actually do provide health care services for people who might not otherwise be able to afford them. This is even true for reproductive health care.

I know the task of searching for and locating the appropriate resources can be daunting and might even bring someone’s search for treatment to a halt. That’s why I decided to putting together a list of places in our little town where reproductive services are available for little-to-no cost.

Joplin Reproductive Health Providers

The Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri: The Community Clinic provides free health care services, including limited reproductive health care services. This place is run by passionate and helpful people and is a great resource when you need a doctor (not just a reproductive one), but can’t afford one.

community clinic

Reproductive health services include:

  • Cervical and breast cancer screenings
  • Pap smears
  • Assistance with mammography and then follow-up after a mammogram
  • Treatment, care and referral for any abnormal screenings
  • Treatment for yeast infections and general vaginal issues
  • Will prescribe birth control and/or removal of IUDs on a very limited basis, typically only out of medical necessity

Cost: Free

Appointment: Not required, but preferred

Location: 701 S. Joplin Ave. Joplin, MO

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Fridays, special clinics only

Phone: 417-624-5500


Access Family Care— Access is a local clinic that provides comprehensive health care services for low-income patients – payment is requested on a sliding scale based on one’s income.


Reproductive health services available:

  • STI testing
  • Family planning and birth control
  • Cervical screenings
  • Pap smears
  • Treatment, care and referral for any abnormal screenings
  • Treatment for yeast infections and general vaginal issues

Cost: some services may be free, but most require payment on a sliding scale

Appointment: Not required, but strongly preferred

Location: Joplin Clinic – 530 S. Maiden Ln. Joplin, MO

Neosho Clinic – 412 E. McKinney St. Neosho, MO

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm; Tuesday, 8 am – 7 pm; Closed Saturday & Sunday

Phone: Joplin – 417-782-6200

Neosho – 417-451-4447


Choices Medical Services: Choices, formerly known as Life Choices, is a local sexual health clinic that provides STI testing, pregnancy testing, and pregnancy consultations. Note: “Choices Medical Services of Joplin and Carthage do not provide or refer for abortions but [their] staff can provide a safe and confidential place to assist you in acquiring medically-accurate information as you make an informed choice.” (source)

Free services include:

  • Office visits
  • Testing for HIV and Syphilis
  • Testing for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, if you meet certain criteria
  • Urine chemstrip testing
  • Pelvic exams
  • Genital wart/dermatology exam
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Limited OB services & ultrasound, with pre-approval

Other services and cost:

Appointment: Not required, but preferred

Location: Joplin – 531 E. 7th St Joplin, MO

Carthage – 2337 Fair Lawn Drive Carthage, MO

Hours: Joplin – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 9 am – 7 pm; Wednesday, 9 am – 5 pm; Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; Closed Saturday & Sunday

Carthage – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 10 am – 6 pm; Closed Wednesday, Friday – Sunday

Phone: Joplin – 417-624-8030

Carthage – 417-388-3434

Choices services


Local Health Departments: Local health departments offer a number of free reproductive health services. In order to qualify for free STI testing, one must meet the criteria of: not being tested within the last year; having a new partner; showing signs and symptoms. Anyone can come in and request a free pregnancy test. To qualify for prenatal services, an application must be filled out.

Note: you need to be a resident of the county health department you seek treatment at.

joplin health dept

Reproductive health services available:

  • STI testing
  • Pregnancy testing
  • If pregnant, prenatal services and referral to programs like TEMP and Medicaid

Cost: Free

Appointment: Not required, but preferred

Location: Joplin Health Dept. – 321 E. 4th St. Joplin, MO

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5pm

Phone: 417-623-6122


Planned Parenthood– Planned Parenthood is one of our country’s largest providers of affordable reproductive health care services and education. Their funding is constantly under attack, and they recently dropped out of Title X funding due to restrictions from the federal government that refuse federal funding to institutions that provide abortion services or referral to abortion services. Please donate here to keep PP up and running!


Birth control services:

  • Birth control consultation
  • Oral birth control
  • Insertion and removal of long acting reversible contraception: IUDs and the implant
  • Emergency contraception (Plan B)
  • Vasectomies

HIV management services

Pregnancy services

  • pregnancy testing
  • adoption referrals
  • fertility awareness education
  • pregnancy options education
  • pregnancy/fertility education
  • trained staff to discuss your options with you if you are pregnant

STI testing, diagnosis and treatment, including:

  • bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • chlamydia
  • genital warts
  • gonorrhea
  • herpes
  • HIV (testing and diagnosis only)
  • syphilis
  • trichomoniasis (trich)
  • Other STD testing, diagnosis and treatment services are also available. Please ask our staff for more information.

STD prevention, including:

  • condoms
  • dental dams
  • HPV vaccine (Gardasil)
  • STD and safer sex education
  • HPV and hepatitis vaccines education

LGBTQ+ services:

Other health services:

  • checkups when you have a reproductive/sexual health problem
  • breast exams
  • cervical cancer screening
  • mammogram referrals
  • menopause and midlife education
  • Pap test
  • urinary tract infection (UTI) testing and treatment
  • vaginal infection testing and treatment
  • Other services may be provided including help with irregular periods or no periods, painful periods, painful sex, bleeding between periods, menstrual problems (premenstrual syndrome) or even a lost tampon.

Cost: If you have insurance, it will cover a lot of services that PP has to offer; financial assistance is available. Eligibility is determined by a variety of factors including income, insurance status and programs available.

The Joplin PP Clinic is also participating in the Right Time Initiative, which is a statewide initiative to provide free or low-cost birth control to anyone who needs it. This means if you need birth control, the Joplin clinic should be able to provide it to you for free or at a cost that works for you.

Appointment: Some services are available on a walk-in basis, but an appointment is preferred

Location: 710 Illinois Ave Joplin, MO

Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 9 am – 5 pm; Wednesday, 11 am – 7 pm; Friday, 8 am – 4 pm; Saturday, 9 am – 1 pm; Closed Sunday and Monday

Phone: 417-781-6500 or book online here


Over the years and with the passing of HB 126, which bans abortions after eight weeks, access to abortion in our state and region has been largely restricted. It is an added burden to have to make travel plans to receive a necessary medical procedure, but that’s where we find ourselves when our elected officials value unborn fetuses over living, breathing humans.

If you need an abortion, there is only one provider in Missouri: Reproductive Health Care Services of PPSLR of St. Louis, MO. Here’s a link to their hours, location and phone number.

Other abortion providers in our region include:

Little Rock Family Planning Services

Planned Parenthood of Little Rock, AR

Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park, KS

Trust Women Wichita, KS


Check out this Julie article from June 11, 2019 to learn more about your options if you need an abortion.


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