Out-of-state abortion seekers flock to Illinois as more states ban the procedure

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Illinois has become a national haven for abortion seekers after the fall of Roe v. Wade as more states have banned or severely restricted the procedure.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) has seen a 54 percent increase in people traveling from out of state for abortions since the fall of Roe. The organization said more people are traveling to Illinois for abortions than any other state in the country and many of them are from neighboring states.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of patients from Wisconsin. We have seen patients from Indiana, like I said, across the region and even across the country,” said Kristen Schultz, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

The organization has been seen patients travel from 36 states now and Schultz said they have long been preparing to support the record numbers of patients.

“Planned Parenthood of Illinois has been planning for this for years. And so we have been expanding capacity by building new health centers,” she said.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ focus is to keep their doors open for people from Illinois and other states. They told Gray Television that have not had to turn anyone away and have been providing out-of-state patients with some $1.6 million in support. The organization has also partnered with groups like Chicago Abortion Fund which provides funding, referrals and travel help. And most of their patients are now from out of state.

“In the year after the fall of Roe… we fielded support requests from over 10,000 folks, and around 85% of those folks were not from the state of Illinois,” said Alicia Hurtado, Chicago Abortion Fund Movement Building Director.

Illinois has also moved to protect abortion seekers from legal action in other states. And at the federal level, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has been pushing for legislation to protect them as well.

“We have patients coming from as far away as Texas. And in Texas, they have that horrific bounty law where people can sue the individual who is seeking health care… So I think that’s where the need is for a federal law,” said Sen. Duckworth.