Illinois clinics see spike in demand for abortion services as Roe v. Wade is overturned

Still from News 4 at 4 p.m.
Still from News 4 at 4 p.m.
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 4:26 PM CDT
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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (KMOV) - Illinois clinics were already seeing a spike in demands for abortion services before the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade was handed down on Friday.

Clinics in southern Illinois anticipate 14,000 more patients because of the Supreme Court’s decision and resulting “trigger laws,” allowing an expected 26 states to ban abortions.

Since Texas banned abortions last month, the Planned Parenthood facility in Fairview Heights has seen a 100% increase in abortion service needs. The priority for staff now is to give patients resources and tools to access care if needed.

“In 2019, we made the decision to be proactive with patients,” explained Yamelsie Rodriguez, President and CEO at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “Since the six-week ban, we put that plan in full motion, adding new physicians, and adding staff capacity, we are ready to absorb the influx of patients with no other options, but we can’t do this alone. We are relying on a network already fragile.”

An estimated 1.3 million women in Missouri will be directly impacted, forced to flee their state for what these healthcare advocates call “fundamental care.”

Clinics in southern Illinois anticipate 14,000 more patients because of the Supreme Court’s decision and resulting “trigger laws,” allowing an expected 26 state

The Planned Parenthood facility serving the Metro East is getting calls from patients in Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and other states. The final abortion performed in Missouri was last Wednesday and any patient in need following that was turned away.

“We are already fielding questions and calls from our network of providers across the country, ‘Are you ready? Can you help us fit people to get their abortions?’ Now after this morning, that’s no longer an option for them,” Rodriguez said.

“I have no doubt there are patients waiting for care and were told in waiting rooms they have to go to a different location,” OBGYN with Planned Parenthood Colleen McNicholas said.

On the Illinois side, pro-choice advocates have been working with not just providers but directly with the Pritzker administration to make sure all options are available for patients. One grassroots effort is a bill proposed to get a municipal funding stream to fund all pregnancy outcomes, including abortions. There is also work with Governor JB Pritzker to get financial support for on-the-ground providers.

One message made clear over Zoom on Friday is that Missouri facilities will remain open to provide the additional services Planned Parenthood offers patients. That means if someone is in need of contraception, STI testing, or they are a trans person seeking medical care, Planned Parenthood doors remain open for Missourians.

“It’s a fundamental service we unapologetically provide when legal but it’s also one of many services Planned Parenthood provides to the community it serves,” Rodriguez said.