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Illinois abortion clinics still grappling with surge of out-of-state patients

Thursday, Aug 11, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Chicago Tribune

The number of out-of-state abortion patients at Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ Flossmoor health center have tripled in the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial decision overturning Roe v. Wade, stripping individuals of their constitutional right to an abortion.

Others who assist persons seeking abortions, which remain legal in Illinois, also say they’ve seen a surge in people needing help and traveling to Illinois for such care. Now that Indiana has outlawed most abortions, they say they expect those numbers to continue to rise as they and other pro-choice advocates blasted this latest blow to abortion care rights. […]

In response to the increased strain abortion providers are seeing in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week announced a 20% Medicaid reimbursement rate increase for abortion services that will cost about $3 million annually.

Rep. Robin Kelly, a Democrat from Matteson, said it’s important that providers have the resources they need. In an interview after a Black Women and Girls Symposium on wellness she held at Prairie State College Saturday, she said the increased demand Illinois providers are already seeing will only worsen in the aftermath of Indiana’s new law, which she labeled a crime.


With more out-of-state patients having to come to Illinois for abortions, clinics like the planned parenthood one in Fairview Heights have to schedule patients out further. What would usually be a 3- or 4-day wait is now about 3 weeks and that means Illinois residents have to wait longer as well.

“This will impact people in the state of Illinois who need abortion access. They will be caught up in these wait times. They will be delayed in getting care,” Lee-Gilmore said.

The longer wait times also push people further into their pregnancy when they get the procedure. […]

“Our in-clinic abortion capacity is being stretched to the limits. We’re seeing appointment times triple and that’s with us double booking patients. I cannot stress enough that providers, particularly in the downstate region need capacity and we need help now,” Lee-Gilmore said.


The Waukegan clinic is Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ busiest for out-of-state abortion patients. After Roe fell, 60% of patients came to this clinic from outside the state – mostly from Wisconsin. In fact, the organization opened in Waukegan two years ago with Wisconsin in mind, knowing that if Roe v. Wade did fall, access to abortion in that state would greatly diminish.

After Roe was struck down, Planned Parenthood organizations in both states announced their partnership. More than a dozen employees from Wisconsin – including doctors, nurses and medical assistants – now commute to Waukegan to help provide care.[…]

The influx of patients into Illinois has had another impact. For years, abortion providers have been traveling once or twice a month to other states like Kansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma, where their help was badly needed.

“Now the script is totally flipped,” said Laursen, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health. “This is where you are needed more than anywhere else.”

* In southern Illinois, some community members have mixed responses to the new clinic opening in Carbondale. St. Louis Public Radio

As before, community members who oppose abortion, many from surrounding towns, expressed their ire about providers choosing to open clinics in Carbondale, this time using social media in addition to public comments at Carbondale City Council meetings.

“I do not want to see the abortion industry bring another abortion clinic to Carbondale,” said Donna Glaub, who has lived in the city for nearly 50 years. “If that’s what they think Carbondale is going to become and the new train station is going to become the hub — it doesn’t hit your heart right.” […]

“Instead of the death penalty being handed down to the innocent party, the baby, the death penalty should come upon the evil man that committed that violence,” said Justin Sparks, a pastor at Christ Church in Carbondale who has also pushed anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and opposition to the coronavirus vaccine on social media. […]

City Councilman Adam Loos said that those speaking out against abortion access are a minority of his constituents and that he emphasizes the city’s hands are legally tied.

“What I’ve told them, speaking for myself rather than for the city, is that even if there were something (to do) — I wouldn’t participate in it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a majority for it.”

* And here’s WBBM Newsradio

The Democratic candidate for Illinois Secretary of State, Alexi Giannoulias, wants to restrict other states’ access to license plate data in Illinois so that women who come here for abortions can’t be tracked.[…]

His Republican opponent, Dan Brady, said the Secretary of State’s office “is not about public policy, it’s about public service.

“As Secretary of State, I’ll stick to improving services at the drivers facilities and cutting wait times.”

Giannoulias says he can do that, too. Or, in his words: “I can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

In July, the Normal Police Department received approval to adopt license plate-reading cameras. WGLT

The controversial cameras have raised privacy concerns, with groups including the American Civil Liberties Union speaking against the widespread adoption of the technology, and its aggregate collection of personal data. […]

“ALPRs represent a serious threat to the privacy and security of women who may be coming to Illinois, and come to Bloomington-Normal, to seek health care, who may be at risk for having their data accessed by out-of-state agencies, who may criminalize the act of seeking an abortion” across state lines, said Ravi Duvvuri, on behalf of the local chapter of the ACLU. […]

[Normal Police Chief Steve Petrilli] told WGLT that law enforcement agencies outside of Normal wouldn’t automatically gain access to NPD camera data. First, they’d need to present details of the criminal case they were investigating. In cases of women crossing state lines to seek an abortion, NPD would not release that data, he said.


  1. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    All of these Fortune 500 companies that have promised to support their employee’s access to reproductive care by agreeing to cover the cost to travel to another state should put a little more skin in the game by supporting providers in those states that they’re expecting to be able to provide service on the drop of a dime to their employees.

    Never mind the discussion of the practice of needing to disclose to your employer why you’re traveling out of state for them to cover your expenses, and never mind the fact that the information about that is going to be stored on the premises in a state that has outlawed reproductive rights and could be accessed by bad actors.

    Nevermind all of that. Where’s Facebook, et all, when it comes to developing the capacity to provide medical care to their employees?

    These companies have let this happen by supporting candidates through PACs and contributions that didn’t believe their employees had rights, and now they’re doing the least they can to pretend like the PR boost is enough to solve a real problem.

    And if these other states seek to criminalize coming to Illinois to exercise your reproductive rights, perhaps Illinois should criminalize the disclosure of reproductive care received by a person within the State of Illinois through the same or even better process of the law while also strengthening how our data is used and managed.

  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    ” agencies outside of Normal wouldn’t automatically gain access to NPD camera data. First, they’d need to present details of the criminal case they were investigating.”

    How about first, you get yourself a warrant.

    This is exactly why Alexi said what he said. It has to be statewide, otherwise an interested out of state PD could just go forum shopping to each PD along a suspected route until they find a sympathetic department - which probably won’t be difficult at all.

  3. - Lisa - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:07 pm:

    This new Nebraska case, involving Facebook communications, will likely impact these issues.

    “Authorities say 17-year-old Celeste Burgess was around 23 weeks pregnant when her mother, Jessica Burgess, allegedly instructed her in private Facebook messages to take two abortion pills to end the pregnancy. The prosecution comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s overturning of federal abortion protections.”

  4. - Jibba - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:20 pm:

    Pastor Sparks sounds like a real pro life guy with all that death penalty talk.

  5. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:33 pm:

    I consider myself pro-choice, but I’m generally against taxpayer money being used for elective procedures. I already was uncomfortable with Medicaid paying for the procedure in most instances, and so I’m not too happy with increasing the reimbursement rate for Illinois patients in order to help non-Illinois patients. But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise if someone wants to point out something I’m missing.

  6. - Huh? - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    The criminalization of abortion isn’t new. There was a recent NPR story on this subject.

  7. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:53 pm:

    Just Me 2, I feel much the same. there needs to be a creative way to get women to take Plan B asap, to use the pills for abortion, to keep costs low for out of state patients and not burden Illinois patients. but this, like many other topics, often leads to loud discussions that one is not pro choices enough. gotta be smart. remember, Kansas is not Illinois. Kansas has parental notification and more strict rules on procedures. that may have helped in the vote. we gotta be smart.

  8. - Bella - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 1:02 pm:

    Very sad that so many use abortion as a form of birth control
    When so many other birth control options are available for free

  9. - Tony DeKalb - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 1:44 pm:

    “being used for elective procedures”

    I think “elective” is being used a little loosely here.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 1:50 pm:

    Dangerous ectopic pregnancies are not elective choices, nor are procedures to save lives

  11. - Lisa - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 2:08 pm:

    Good thing only about 2% of pregnancies
    Are ectopic
    and all states regardless of their abortion laws
    Allow for termination in the case of ectopic

  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===all states regardless===

    Can you cite Texas’ language for this?


  13. - LakeCo - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 2:31 pm:

    =Very sad that so many use abortion as a form of birth control When so many other birth control options are available for free =

    Pretty sweeping generalization there, and presumes a lot in terms of who has easy access to contraception. Also a smidge judgy.

  14. - Lisa - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 2:32 pm:

    ….. allowed to save life of woman

    Google is your friend

  15. - Bella - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 2:37 pm:

    I love how everyone likes to cite the smallest of % possibilities of a certain situation to justify their

    Anyone that’s wants birth control can make the effort to get some
    Abstinence is accessible to all and free

  16. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 3:17 pm:

    “Abstinence is accessible to all and free” - Bella

    You can have mine.

  17. - Blue Girl in Red County - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 4:29 pm:

    “ I’m not too happy with increasing the reimbursement rate for Illinois patients in order to help non-Illinois patients.”

    One should not assume the rate increase was made to help out of state patients. Everyone know that Medicaid is not a generous payer. I think providers are simply seeking to have their costs covered for seeing Medicaid part and not having to use privately raised dollars to supplement for costs.

    It seems that some don’t understand what “elective” means in medicine. “Elective” simply means non-emergency. This medical term is not used to imply that a procedure is not medically necessary, or that it doesn’t have health benefits, or that it is t important. However, in the context of abortion, some people seem to use “elective” when they are talking about abortions they don’t approve of.

  18. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 4:44 pm:

    ISP can release the previous inquiry data themselves; the LEADS system creates an audit trail of all inquiries. So even if a department doesn’t want to release it, ISP can do so directly as the ‘control point’ for the entire system. It is also possible the FBI will release the NCIC inquiry audit trails for criminal cases which would establish an Illinois law enforcement agency ran the inquiry on a person or vehicle on a certain date and time from a certain computer. Plus an inquiry run through that person’s home state would also highly likely be logged by the home state’s criminal and DMV/SOS systems, including the state/time/date/agency the inquiry came through, via NLETS. It’s not as easy as one agency not releasing information in this case.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 11:10 pm:

    ===Google is your friend===

    So you can’t find it?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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