The Supreme Court decision that came from the Roe v. Wade lawsuit recognized that birthing people in the United States had a constitutional right to abortion, which was upheld for decades. A year ago, on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned that decision. This set a very dangerous precedent in that individual states are now able to criminalize abortion, which could push people to practice unsafe and possibly deadly at-home methods of pregnancy termination, as well as allow for states to invade the privacy of those who could be seeking reproductive care. As of this year, 22 states have enacted abortion bans or near-total abortion bans, with some being blocked by state courts.
In Illinois, abortion rights were signed into state law in 2019 and have been protected since, even after the overturning of Roe v Wade. Currently, Illinois is the only state in the Midwest to do this, individuals from surrounding states are coming here to receive abortion and reproductive care. According to a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, Planned Parenthood of Illinois received a “spike in abortion patients” within the past year. “The number of patients seeking both medication and procedure abortions rose 54% last year, Planned Parenthood reported. Patients needing financial and travel help also doubled in that period.” Earlier this year, Governor J.B Pritzker signed off on legislation that will protect those from out-of-state seeking reproductive health care in Illinois and service providers. In Chicago specifically, former Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an Executive Order that protects reproductive health care providers from any legal action initiated by another state.
There are resources and organizations that provide information, health care and advocate for those who need it. Our community partner CDPH also provides information and resources on abortion and reproductive health care. You can also visit Planned Parenthood of Illinois if you are seeking information and services, and the Chicago Abortion Fund if you are looking for resources or you want to get involved.
At EverThrive Illinois, we work to achieve Reproductive Justice so everyone can maintain their bodily autonomy. EverThrive IL is committed to ensuring people from communities most impacted by injustice have the access, resources, health care and has the right to choose if, when, and how to become a parent and sustain healthy families on their own terms.
Last year’s Supreme Court decision was disappointing, but it’s important not to get discouraged. With Illinois becoming a sanctuary state for abortion and other reproductive care, we must continue to fight for reproductive justice and reproductive rights for all, not just those in Illinois but in other states. Everyone deserves access to safe, equitable reproductive care.