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Abortion providers asked the Supreme Court of the United States for emergency relief, but, SCOTUS has not yet intervened.

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL - Today, at midnight, Texas’s Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) — a six-week abortion ban — took effect. The law is the country’s first six-week abortion ban to be enforced, triggering a devastating domino effect on abortion access in the Midwest. This means abortion access is nearly eliminated in Texas, and many patients will have to flee their home state to seek care if they have the means to do so. Last year, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott used COVID-19 to ban abortion, providers in southwest Illinois — Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (RHS) and Hope Clinic for Women — began to see patients traveling from Texas for care. Once again, Illinois providers anticipate the same scenario for Texas patients who just lost access to abortion past six weeks of pregnancy, which is before many people know they’re pregnant. RHS is already fielding calls from Texans who are scrambling to access abortion.

Earlier this week, Texas abortion providers asked the Supreme Court for emergency relief, in an effort to stop the law from taking effect. The high court has not yet intervened, allowing the law to take effect today. During Abbott’s COVID-19 Executive Order, which banned abortion in Texas, patients traveled 20 times farther — many, to out-of-state health centers including RHS and Hope Clinic in Illinois — just to access care. 

 

Yamelsie Rodríguez, President and CEO, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:

“We are ready to help patients from Texas access the care they need and deserve. When politicians in other states have failed people in need of abortion, we have answered the call. RHS will do it again because abortion is health care and health care is a human right. However, despite our best efforts, the injustice here is that for far too many patients, traveling out of state will push access out of reach altogether. This is the reality we’ve long been warning about.”
 

Erin King, MD, Executive Director and Physician, Hope Clinic for Women:

“A patient having to travel hundreds of miles across multiple state borders for health care is unacceptable.  Hope Clinic knows this is already the reality for many patients. We are prepared to provide abortion for patients that are unable to access this essential health care in their own community and state.”

Planned Parenthood and Hope Clinic have invested nearly $10 million in clinical capacity and infrastructure in preparation for more abortion bans and restrictions from neighboring states. The number of women crossing state lines to have an abortion in Illinois has grown each year since 2014. The most recent data from 2019 shows Illinois cared for 10% more patients who came from out of state — a need Gov. Pritzker was already planning for when he signed the Reproductive Health Act into law. This law protects every person’s right to access reproductive health care including abortion, no matter what happens at the U.S. Supreme Court. The RHA is a powerful example of what elected leaders can do at the state level to expand abortion access and prepare for a future without Roe. Gov. Pritzker has been a committed reproductive health care ally and trailblazer, recognizing there already are and will continue to be “refugees from other states” who are in need of abortion access.

Already, people who live in states neighboring Illinois like Missouri and Northwest Arkansas have to flee their home states in order to access abortion. A litany of medically unnecessary restrictions in these states have made it nearly impossible for people of color and people with low incomes to access abortion. On top of racist and discriminatory policies like the Hyde Amendment, these same patients have to navigate laws that purposely drive up cost of care like forcing multiple trips to the health center and waiting periods that delay care.

 

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Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region provides options counseling, pregnancy testing, abortion and other reproductive services for thousands of people in Missouri, Illinois and across the region each year. Our highly trained physicians and medical staff provide expert care in a supportive setting, no matter what. Patients can make an appointment online at plannedparenthood.org/health-center, or by phone at 314-531-7526.


Hope Clinic for Women has been a trusted, safe, compassionate abortion provider for over 45 years. People come to Hope Clinic from all over the country. Many patients already find it difficult to find an abortion care provider.  Everyone deserves the right to access the health services that they need in their own communities. But for now if they do have to travel: Welcome to Illinois, where you can get a safe, legal abortion. For more information, visit https://hopeclinic.com.

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