top of page

Reproductive Health

Protecting access to reproductive health care was among my earliest entries to activism. I’ve served as a clinic escort, and have worked with leaders at the local, state, and federal level to protect choice for decades. I sponsored the Reproductive Health Act and an active cosponsor of both House Bill 40 and the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Last summer, I was pleased to be asked by Speaker Welch to lead working group tasked with crafting legislation responding to issues raised for our state, patients, and providers in light of the fall of Roe v Wade with the release of the Dobbs decision. We accomplished a huge victory with the passage of HB4664 known as The Patient and Provider Protection Act. In this section, we want to update you on the work we’ve been doing this session and continue to provide important information about the progress we have already made when it comes to Reproductive Health Care. 

What's the Update?

In January of 2023 we passed The Patient & Provider Protection Act. The bill provides protections for lawful health care activity in Illinois from abusive litigation in other states.  "Lawful health care" includes reproductive health and gender-affirming health care.

The bill:

  1. Protects information about lawful health care activity in Illinois from becoming subject to subpoenas issued from other states

  2. Protects witnesses from being compelled to testify in criminal proceedings in another state in a charge related to lawful health care activity. 

  3. Prohibits state courts from applying another state's law in Illinois cases related to lawful health care activity and prohibits courts from enforcing foreign judgments issued in connection with litigation concerning lawful health care activity.

  4. Provides the Governor's discretion in complying with an extradition order from another state stemming from a charge based on conduct that involves lawful health care activity.

Since the Dobbs decision and the overturning of Roe v. Wade we have worked tirelessly to make Illinois a refuge for those seeking abortions and reproductive healthcare. We are now seeing what our work has accomplished, Planned Parenthood of Illinois has released information regarding the uptick of out of state patients in the 2 years since the Dobbs decision. They have seen out of state patients now become almost a quarter of their patients seeking an abortion, up from 3-5% previously. A Planned Parenthood health center was opened in December of 2023 close to the Illinois border in Carbondale, since opening 75% of their overall patients have been from out of state, of those, 88% of them come from a state that restricts access to abortions or gender affirming care. The Carbondale Health Center also found that over 90% of their patients seeking an abortion were coming from out of state, most notably Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Missouri. 


It is precisely because of numbers like these that our work in the State House must continue. This year we passed HB 5239 which amends the Reproductive Health Care Act to prohibit the State from providing any information or resources towards another state’s investigation against anyone seeking or facilitating an abortion, and it gives anyone whose information has been improperly shared a pathway to sue the state. 


The bill will also help minors looking to come into Illinois for reproductive health, it allows them to apply on their own behalf for aid under the Family Planning Program. This bill gives them the resources to make decisions for their own bodies, because we understand that there are circumstances that these decisions need to be made by them, and them alone. 


While we work to protect abortion access from current threats, we are also keeping an eye on threats on the horizon, a court case that was brought before the Supreme Court, Idaho and Moyle, et al. v. United States, in which Idaho politicians are looking to disregard a federal statute: The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA was enacted in 1986 and requires that hospitals receiving Medicare funds must provide stabilizing treatment to anyone experiencing a medical emergency, the United States Department of Health and Human Services included emergency abortions in these stabilizing treatments. After the Dobbs decision Idaho enacted one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country and was sued by the Department of Justice in 2022. A lower court granted an injunction, but Idaho appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, oral arguments were heard in April of this year. While we wait on a decision in that case I cosponsored HB 581, which ensures that hospitals in Illinois follow EMTALA, including providing emergency abortions to those who need them. 
 

 

 

What is a Crisis Pregnancy Center?

Our working group is studying the prevalence of crisis pregnancy centers. Crisis pregnancy centers (called CPCs or fake clinics) are clinics or mobile vans that look like real health centers but have agendas to pressure or mislead people from getting an abortion. These clinics do not provide abortions or always give accurate facts about sexual health and a woman's pregnancy options. Often crisis pregnancy centers are not licensed medical facilities or staffed by licensed professionals and offer ultrasounds by unlicensed personnel. There are 90+ CPCs in Illinois. As of 2020, there are 2,500+ CPCs nationwide. CPCs outnumber abortion clinics nationwide by an average of more than 3 to 1. We are notifying major search platforms like Google of this problem as many searches that come up for people who are looking for abortions are sent CPC sites which are places to avoid for people who need abortion services. Below is a map that my Chief of Staff, Torrence Gardner, put together to highlight how many abortion providers we have in relation to CPCs. The purple icons are the abortion providers and the red dots are the CPCs. Feel free to use this map as a way to find abortion services.

Illinois successfully passed legislation, which was sent to the Governor on June 9, 2023, to hold crisis pregnancy centers accountable for engaging in deceptive practices. I was proud to be a Chief Co-Sponsor of SB 1909, The Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act, which prevents CPCs from using deception, fraud, misrepresentation, or the omission of any material fact in order to interfere with an individual's access to an abortion or reproductive health services. Additionally, the law prevents CPCs from inducing an individual to obtain services from a limited services pregnancy center. This Act is enforceable by the Attorney General and allows parties aggrieved by a violation of the Act to seek damages. SB 1909 is an important step in ensuring that all individuals in Illinois have access to accurate, comprehensive, and expansive reproductive care. 

 

If you specifically live in Chicago and you or if you know someone who is seeking reproductive health care support and services, residents can visit chicago.gov/abortioncare for trusted resources and information about pregnancy options and how to find services. CDPH hosts a digital community directory as part of its OneChiFam initiative. Anyone can use this directory to search by zip code, category, or keyword. 

Where is Abortion Legal in the U.S?

Below you will find a color-coded map to reflect the current status of abortion law in states across the country. This map will continue to be updated.

Abortion Law in Illinois

Click on the image below to see an At A Glance one-pager of abortion law in Illinois provided by the ACLU.

0001.jpg

Below you will find some helpful informational packets from the Illinois Attorney General's Office. Click on each image to see an enlarged PDF version you can download. 

Protecting Personal Information

0001.jpg

Know Your Reproductive Rights

Know Your Reproductive Rights 060122_page-0001.jpg
bottom of page