In response to growing awareness of the need for affordable and accessible family planning services, the first Planned Parenthood chapter in Tennessee was opened in the eastern region in 1961. Known as 'Planned Parenthood Association of the Southern Mountains' (PPASM), the agency reached out to families in rural areas of the region with information regarding family planning and reproductive health. In Nashville in 1964, a similar group of professionals and volunteers began educating women and their families under the auspices of 'Planned Parenthood Association of Nashville' (PPAN).
In 1973, PPASM was asked to work with the public health departments to provide family planning services in six counties. This same year, with the Roe v Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court, abortion became legal in Tennessee. PPAN added contraception, abortion, and pregnancy testing services.
In 1981, PPASM and Planned Parenthood of Knox County merged to form Planned Parenthood of East Tennessee (PPET), serving an eight-county area with five free-standing clinics. By this time, all Tennessee affiliates had together formed Tennessee Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, a 501(c)(4) organization designed to advocate for public policies ensuring reproductive rights and access to family planning and education services.
In 1991, the Supreme Court upheld a regulation attached to Title X funding (federal subsidy of family planning services) known as the 'Gag Rule'. The guidelines limited the types of information and referral that could be given to women regarding pregnancy options. This development led to deep soul-searching in Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, who struggled with questions of how to remain true to their core values while at the same time being accessible to under-served, low-income clients.
In 1992, PPET decided to forego Title X funding, necessitating the closure of five clinics.
In 1993, PPAN changed its name to Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee (PPMT), to accurately reflect the geographic diversity of its clients.
In 2000, PPET and PPMT merged to become Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee (PPMET). Its 'turf' extends from the North Carolina border to the Tennessee River, encompassing 76 of the 95 counties in Tennessee.