Illinois is an "existential threat to anti-abortionists."
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Only the most optimistic believe that the Unites States Supreme Court won’t overturn Roe come this summer.
In the sixties, before Roe, I can remember taking friends to illegal abortionists. Or school friends who would disappear for six months due to a pregnancy.
Or the hoops girls had to go through just to get a monthly supply of birth control pills as we drove miles to the nearest Planned Parenthood office and I waited in the car.
As a sixteen year old I was not aware of anyone who died from a botched back alley abortion. If there were students who survived one, it was not something that was shared in a school lunchroom conversation with boys present.
Though Roe has been contested for all these past 50 years, we are all better off for it.
Thankfully for those of us in Illinois legislators led by elected women anticipated a Supreme Court ruling on Roe and worked to get legislation in place to protect abortion rights no matter what the Court ruled.
“Illinois is pretty much an existential threat to the pro-life laws of all of our neighboring states,” Illinois Right to Life executive director Amy Gehrke told the Wall Street Journal.
Good for us.
Illinois is one of twelve states that already have laws on the books protecting abortion rights even if we lose Roe.
Twelve states have trigger laws that automatically outlaw abortions if the Court overturns Roe.
llinois guaranteed the right to an abortion in state law in 2019.
Illinois would be both a haven for those seeking the procedure and a threat to those working to restrict access in bordering states. Several other states where courts or lawmakers have protected abortion rights, including Nevada, Minnesota and Kansas, also share borders with states that want to punish women.
Wisconsin, with a Democratic governor and Republican-controlled state Legislature, is one of eight states with unenforced abortion bans—made before Roe—still on the books.
Missouri and Kentucky have trigger laws in place. Iowa passed a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy that isn’t in effect. Indiana is expected to ban abortion if the court rules to kill Roe.
More out-of-state patients have been coming to Illinois, with 5,668 nonresidents receiving abortions there in 2018, compared with 2,970 in 2014, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Public Health.
Providers have opened new locations, increased staffing and expanded hours in the past several years. They are now coordinating with colleagues across the country to ensure they could accommodate more patients if abortion is outlawed elsewhere.
Should Roe be overturned, it is possible about half of U.S. states could further restrict or ban abortion. The Chicago Abortion Fund, which helps finance abortion procedures and the logistics associated with them, has received 3,300 requests for assistance so far this year, said executive director Megan Jeyifo. While the majority of callers are from the Midwest, Ms. Jeyifo said she is starting to become more familiar with Texas area codes as more callers from there seek grants, which average between $200 and $240.
“We are not just protecting our own residents, we’re protecting people across the country,” Dr. Erin King of The Hope Clinic for Women, an independent abortion provider in Granite City, Ill., about 4 miles from the Missouri border.
Incidentally, Illinois just passed and Governor Pritzker signed a bill this year making birth control available to anyone without a prescription. California passed the same law five years ago.