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History of PPIL

The institution that is today’s Planned Parenthood began in the early 1900’s with Margaret Sanger, a nurse who advocated for birth control and led the movement to abolish federal and state laws prohibiting publication of information about sexuality, contraception and human reproduction. In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic and founded Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). 

Prior to the creation of PPIL, health centers in Illinois were organized into five different regional affiliates. On March 1, 2008, Illinois’ five Planned Parenthood Affiliates - Chicago Area, Decatur, East Central Illinois, Heart of Illinois and Springfield Area consolidated governance and operations to form one statewide organization, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL). Learn more about the history of PPIL by selecting a link below:

The Early Years: 1923 - 1950s
Gaining Ground: 1960s
Growth and Education: 1970s
Opposition and Backlash: 1980s
Development and Advocacy: 1990s
A New Century: 2000s

The Early Years: 1923 - 1950s

1923: The Illinois Birth Control League makes family planning available in Chicago by opening a center on Michigan Avenue. Prominent Chicago women support the League and its activities.

1930s: Additional health centers are opened in Chicago.

1938: Four socially prominent women work together to open the Maternal Health Clinic in Springfield. The center was open on two Wednesdays a month.

Early 1940s: In February of 1940 the center in Champaign opened, but was only allowed to serve married women of low income. The war years brought shortages of doctors and nurses, but the center survived.

1947: Themedical centers in Chicago are incorporated as a Planned Parenthood Affiliate and become known as Planned Parenthood Association, Chicago Area (PPACA). PPACA assumes the responsibility for reproductive, medical, and educational services in the Chicago area. Twenty-two men and women are elected to the Board of Directors.

Early to Mid 1950s: The Champaign health center focuses on education and introduces a new series of programs for married couples and women in public housing.

1958: PPACA begins “The Big Push” to introduce birth control services into Cook County Hospital and Chicago Board of Health Clinics.

The Springfield Area health center faces hardship and is forced to close.

Gaining Ground: 1960s

1960s: Family planning in Springfield continues via a private referral system run by a founding member of the center, “Dougie” Funk. Local physicians eventually take over family planning work due to the lack of a Planned Parenthood health center, and the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights provides consultation regarding abortion to Springfield women.

1960: The FDA approves the distribution of the contraceptive pill in 1960. That same year, the board of the Champaign health center approves the use of the pill for patients provided that the patient obtains a prescription from her private physician and pays $2.00 for each month’s supply.

Chicago experiences a battle over birth control. PPACA continues “The Big Push” in order to get state supported birth control.

1962: PPACA operates a “Mobile Medical Unit” to bring family planning services into under-served areas.

1964: Despite previous failed attempts in the 1930s and 1950s, efforts are renewed to establish a center in Peoria.

The Champaign health center begins to serve unmarried women and provide them with birth control.

The Chicago Board of Health recognizes the need for family planning and approves a policy to refer patients to PPACA or the Roman Catholic Cana Conference. However the patient must request referral.

1965: The efforts in Peoria prove successful when Planned Parenthood of the Greater Peoria Area (PPGPA) is chartered as an affiliate of PPFA. Over 120 patients are served in the first year.

This same year the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the right of married couples everywhere to use birth control.

1966: “The Big Push” ends successfully for PPACA, and family planning services are accepted into Cook County Hospital.

1967: The Decatur health center opens. The opening of the center constitutes a new regional affiliate in Illinois.

1968: IUDs are offered at the Champaign health center.

1969: The PPGPA Board works for more funding, and the United Way agrees to provide $10,000 toward administrative costs.

Growth and Education: 1970s

1970s: The 1970s saw an expansion of services when Illinois law allows doctors to offer birth control information and services to minors.Federal funds for family planning become available when President Nixon signs Title X into law.

Efforts are renewed to reestablish a Springfield Area health center.

PPACA introduces more counseling services. The Champaign health center also expands educational programming and establishes a teen peer education group.

1971: The Springfield Area health center is reopened in a nursing home. It is now known as Family Planning of Sangamon County.

The Bloomington health center opens as part of Planned Parenthood Champaign County.

1973: Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion nationally and guarantees the right to choose.

1975: Family Planning of Sangamon County gains full affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

1977: PPGPA expands into Tazewell County by opening a health center in Pekin, IL.

Opposition and Backlash: 1980s

1980s: A time of conservatism, the 1980s bring cutbacks to social services and threatens the progress of the 1970s. Sex education for teens is threatened and limited. In response, PPFA establishes a strong lobby presence in Washington D.C. to mobilize support.

Ottawa health center opens.

1981: Roseland health center opens in Chicago.

1982: PPGPA hires its first full-time Education Director.

1984: Eleven years after Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood makes abortion available and affordable in Chicago.

Rogers Park health center opens in Chicago.

1986: The Springfield health center, now known as Planned Parenthood Springfield Area (PPSA), leases a larger building on Washington St.

1987: PPACA joins PPFA efforts to regain funding for international family planning services. Funding for these programs had been denied in 1984 by the Reagan administration.

1989: Near North Health Center opens.

PPGPA is renamed Planned Parenthood Heart of Illinois (PPHOI), due to the addition of several new counties into its service area.

Development and Advocacy: 1990s

Early 1990s: Planned Parenthood of Champaign County merges with Planned Parenthood of Mid-Central Illinois to form Planned Parenthood of East Central Illinois (PPECI). The Effingham health center also opens as a part of PPECI.

1990: Austin health center opens in Chicago.

1994: Englewood health center opens in Chicago.

Mid 1990s: PPHOI and PPECI expand services and educational programs. New programs at PPECI health centers include M.A.L.E. and the Network for Learning.

1996: Wicker Park health center opens in Chicago.

1997: PPHOI adds confidential HIV testing and counseling.

1998: PPSA purchases the building on Washington St. Money for the down payment is raised through Bingo.

1999: Emergency contraception is made available to PPHOI patients. PPHOI launches first website offering information, services, and programs.

A New Century: 2000s

Early 2000s: PPECI offers more services, including STI screenings, NuvaRing, Ortho Evra and services for men.

2000: PPACA partners with The Cradle, an adoption agency located in Evanston, IL.

2001: Loop health center opens at 18 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago

2004: PPHOI’s Board of Directors passes a resolution to oppose efforts to limit the civil rights of same sex couples.

2003: PPACA offers Ortho Evra and NuvaRing.

2006: Orland Park health center opens.

2007: Aurora health center opens. At 22,000 square feet, it is one of the largest Planned Parenthood health centers in the country.

2008: All five regional affiliates in Illinois merge into one body, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL).

2009: PPIL offers Hepatitis A and B vaccines at all health centers in the state.

PPIL participates in “GYT: Get Yourself Tested,” a campaign in collaboration with MTV and the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention to increase testing and treatment for STDs and diseases among those under 25.

2010: PPIL offers expedited partner therapy for chlamydia and gonorrhea at all health centers across the state.

PPIL offers medication abortion services at the Springfield health center and becomes the only abortion provider in Springfield and surrounding counties. 

Learn more about Planned Parenthood's history.


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