Reproductive decision assistance to continue following overturn of Roe v. Wade

Jun. 25—The U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade will not impact abortion access in Illinois, and local agencies expect to see more people from other states, where there are abortion restrictions and bans, seek information and medical services here.

Women's Care Clinic (WCC) board member and Second Church of Christ Lead Minister Greg Taylor has said the WCC will be needed more than ever in Danville, as current state government under the leadership of Gov. JB Pritzker continues to expand abortion access. Taylor said it is likely that every state touching Illinois will eventually outlaw abortion, leaving people from those states with the option to travel to Illinois for abortion access, especially since Danville is on the border.

He stated recently he's thankful for 30 years of impact in the fight for life at the Women's Care Clinic and he looks forward to what the future holds for the clinic.

"Many pro-life people have been praying for decades that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned, and the decision of abortion will be returned to individual states," he's said.

The clinic doesn't provide abortions, but new clinic executive director Mariah Hanson recently said they've already seen more people seeking abortion information, and she expects to see more.

The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away the nation's constitutional protections for abortion that had stood for nearly half a century. The decision by the court's conservative majority overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

According to a statement from Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, "before Roe v. Wade, criminal abortions were the leading cause of maternal death in the United States by a 7 to 1 margin. Those who did not die were left infertile, in perpetual pain, and permanently traumatized. Today, I'm thinking about those women—those we've lost and those we've harmed. We cannot allow their deaths to be in vain. Make no mistake: in the many states where they will be illegal, abortions will continue. Now they will also be dangerous, they will be secretive and they will be deadly."

"To the right-wing officeholders who today are cheering the Supreme Court's ruling: Get your iron boot off women's necks. Hop off your high horse and know that what you're calling a 'celebration of life' today will actually lead to death — the death of women in abusive situations, the death of women whose health is at risk, the death of women and girls who will still seek abortions—ones that are unsafe and performed by unqualified back-alley butchers. Let me make this explicit and clear to women throughout our state, the Midwest, and our nation: Illinois will be a safe haven for the exercise of your reproductive rights. In Illinois, Roe v. Wade is still the law, and it will remain the law as long as we have a pro-choice legislature and a pro-choice governor. Here, we trust you to make your own decisions about your reproductive health. We will defend your right to bodily autonomy."

"I want to close by speaking directly to those who have the most at stake in today's decision: To the single mom juggling four kids and three part-time jobs, Illinois will fight for you. To the teenage child, who endured rape or incest, Illinois will fight for you. To the marginalized and most vulnerable, who are being attacked at every turn by transphobic, or misogynistic or bigoted politicians, Illinois will fight for you. We will not turn back the clock. Here in the Land of Lincoln and the home state of Barack Obama, where we were the first to ratify women's suffrage 100 years ago, we will continue the fight for freedom, liberty and justice for all," Pritzker stated.

Vermilion County abortion stats

The Vermilion County Health Department is not directly impacted by the Supreme Court decision, according to VCHD Public Health Administrator Doug Toole.

"We offered family planning service such as medical examinations, pregnancy testing, contraceptive supplies and educational services (we did not perform abortions) up until June 30, 2010, when the program was discontinued along with others due to an interruption in funding from the state," according to Toole.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health's abortion statistics, in 2020 there were 153 Vermilion County resident induced pregnancy terminations.

This compares to 178 in 2019, 152 in 2018, 139 in 2017, 65 in 2016, 117 in 2015 and 123 in 2014 of Vermilion County resident induced pregnancy terminations.

Other 2020 numbers: 101 in Champaign County, 1,057 in Lake County, 8.902 in Cook County and many Illinois counties with less than 50.

In 2020, there were 36,174 Illinois resident induced pregnancy terminations, with 9,686 terminations by out-of-state residents and 383 of unknown residency, according to IDPH. Total abortions in 2020 in Illinois were 46,243. The out-of-state resident numbers in Illinois have continued to increase since 2014.

Of the abortions in 2020, 40,475 were by unmarried persons, 4,037 were by married persons and 1,731 were by unknown marital status persons.

The biggest age group was age 25-29, with 14,343 induced pregnancy terminations. The second largest age group was age 20-24, with 13,022.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.