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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

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Illinois: Becomes an oasis for those seeking abortion care

MAKING+A+DIFFERENCE.+Men+and+women+in+bright+pink+vests+stand+outside+Family+Planning+Associates+Medical+Group+on+Washington+Boulevard+in+the+Loop%2C+ready+to+escort+patients+seeking+abortion+care.+Since+the+Supreme+Court+overturned+Roe+v.+Wade+in+2022%2C+restrictions+in+some+states+led+to+a+49%25+rise+in+abortions+in+Illinois.+%E2%80%9C14+states+have+banned+abortion+outright%2C+with+four+more+states+banning+abortions+at+six+weeks%2C+making+it+nearly+impossible+to+seek+care%2C+which+has+led+Illinois+to+kind+of+be+an+oasis+for+people+seeking+abortion+care+not+only+in+the+Midwest%2C+but+in+the+South+as+well%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Alison+Dreith+of+the+Midwest+Access+Coalition.%0A
Sohana Schneider
MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Men and women in bright pink vests stand outside Family Planning Associates Medical Group on Washington Boulevard in the Loop, ready to escort patients seeking abortion care. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, restrictions in some states led to a 49% rise in abortions in Illinois. “14 states have banned abortion outright, with four more states banning abortions at six weeks, making it nearly impossible to seek care, which has led Illinois to kind of be an oasis for people seeking abortion care not only in the Midwest, but in the South as well,” said Alison Dreith of the Midwest Access Coalition.

People in bright pink vests stand outside Family Planning Associates Medical Group on Washington Boulevard, ready to escort patients in need. These volunteers are some of the many people in Illinois providing abortion care to people who need it, including many from out of state. 

Illinois has seen a 49% rise in out-of-state abortions since the Supreme Court decision overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, causing many organizations to continue to provide resources to the thousands who travel to Illinois  from their home states for abortion care. Illinois has become the third most popular state for abortions.  

Alison Dreith, the director of strategic partnerships at Midwest Access Coalition,an abortion fund based in Illinois, said abortion restrictions in many states have caused a big spike in Illinois abortions. Subsequently, MAC went from 800 to 1,600 patients within one year.

“Fourteen states have banned abortion outright, with four more states banning abortions at six weeks, making it nearly impossible to seek care, which has led Illinois to kind of be an oasis for people seeking abortion care not only in the Midwest, but in the South as well,” Ms. Dreith said.

Amina Chaudhry, co-founder and CEO of Sunny, a virtual medical practice focused on sexual and reproductive health, and a physician based in Massachusetts, said the abortion bans and laws mostly affect people who already have barriers for receiving care. This is one of the many reasons why it is important for people to know accurate information. 

“It is really important to know what the laws are in the area that you live and the area you plan to travel to because it is really different from state to state,” Dr. Chaudhry said.

Dr. Chaudhry adds that there are people in Illinois doing great work for those seeking abortions as the demand increases. 

“There is a group of organizations known as abortion funds, and they’ve been around for a long time, but the need for them has increased tremendously in the last couple of years since Dobbs,” Dr. Chaudhry said.

Ms. Dreith said MAC supplies transportation, accommodations, child care, food, incidentals, cash, direct flights and hotels to avoid putting more pressure on those already traveling for care.

“We realize that about 50% of people who schedule their first abortion appointment don’t make it to the clinic,” Ms. Drieth said. “So we pay for and book all the practical things people need in their lives to access this time sensitive care.” 

She said that while MAC deals with scammers and staff shortage, they build community through their work. 

“We share a lot of comradery and emotional support to the people we serve, and it fills us back up,” Ms. Drieth said.

As more states impose restrictions, and demand increases, many in Illinois will continue to fight to provide abortion care to those who seek it. 

Ms. Drieth said, “It is not just abortion that we are talking about, but the right to health care, and it is the very notion that we as humans have bodily autonomy and privacy.”

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Sohana Schneider
Sohana Schneider, Reporter
Sohana Schneider is a member of the Class of 2026 and is a journalist for the U-High Midway. She began journalism in the 2023-24 school year as a sophomore. She plays soccer, swims and she enjoys listening to music.

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