IL Planned Parenthood clinics take on surge of patients as more states ban abortion

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - With abortion now banned in 16 states and at least 10 other states in the process of blocking some or all abortion care, Planned Parenthood leaders say Illinois Democrats are standing up for women.

Gov. JB Pritzker met Tuesday morning with several Planned Parenthood leaders to better understand their needs for providing reproductive health care in Illinois.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson said 40 million people are now at risk due to abortion bans in their states. McGill Johnson said that 24 states can’t absorb the abortion needs of the entire country. She stressed that Illinois providers are “moving mountains” to provide care.

“Hundreds of thousands of people can no longer access the abortion care they need in their own states, and they are fleeing to places like Illinois where they can get care,” McGill Johnson said. “Those who don’t have the resources to travel are being forced to continue their pregnancy against their will.”

Pritzker said Illinois voters cannot stand by while extremist Republican politicians and judges treat women like second-class citizens. The governor said he believes that reproductive rights are human rights. Pritzker argued that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a shameful right-wing abrogation of those rights.

“Make no mistake, the right-wing may have taken away abortion rights from half of all Americans,” Pritzker said. “But they’ve unleashed a tsunami of determined women voters and their allies who will lift up pro-choice candidates and take down the ultra-conservative fundamentalists.”

Pritzker noted that Illinois lawmakers are still in working groups trying to craft legislation to expand access to abortion care. Patients from all over the Midwest and the south continue to flood into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Fairview Heights near St. Louis.

Yamelsie Rodriguez explained that the health center provides abortions up to 26 weeks of pregnancy. The president and CEO of Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri said the need for abortion later in pregnancy is increasing because of wait times and logistical realities for patients.

Rodriguez says this is a health care crisis and that Illinois lawmakers need to expand the pool of providers who can administer in-clinic abortions. She also thanked Pritzker for his dedication to protecting abortion rights.

It’s unlikely that state lawmakers will hold a special session on abortion rights, but the governor and advocates hope to see legislation pass this fall.

“Our efforts here are ongoing every single day,” Pritzker said. “The legislators are meeting every week trying to figure it out.”

PPIL President and CEO Jennifer Welch said state leaders need to ensure abortion remains safe and legal. Welch explained that lawmakers must recognize that advanced practice nurses and physician assistants can safely and legally perform abortion procedures in accordance with their training.

“In order to meet these needs, we must have supported elected officials,” Welch said. “Everyone needs to understand that abortion is on the ballot in November. We must elect pro-choice candidates up and down the ballot and we must re-elect Gov. JB Pritzker.”

Three of the state’s largest anti-abortion organizations previously have endorsed state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) in his bid to secure the GOP gubernatorial nomination and unseat Pritzker.

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