Newly released data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) shows that abortions jumped by 10% in just one year, from over 42,000 to over 46,000, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In 2018, 42,400 women had abortions in Illinois, and women from out of state comprised roughly 13% of that total or about 5,500 abortions. By contrast, in 2019 the Tribune reported that 46,500 women underwent abortions in Illinois, with more than 7,500, or roughly 16%, committed on residents of other states. (At press time, 2019 statistics were not yet publicly available on the IDPH website.) This increase is particularly striking in the context of a nearly one percent increase in abortions nationwide, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data for 2018.
The increase is hardly a surprise given Illinois’ extremely abortion-permissive laws. The summer of 2019 saw the passage of the Reproductive Health Act that both enshrined abortion as a “fundamental right” in state law and erased virtually every abortion restriction on the books up until that time. These legislative changes predictably led to Illinois being dubbed an “abortion tourism” destination for out-of-state women seeking abortions, especially as surrounding states beef up restrictions on abortion with mandatory waiting periods, parental notification or consent requirements for minors, mandatory provision of care on babies who survive abortions, and more. Consequently, abortions on out-of-state women have consistently increased year over year in Illinois since 2014.
While Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ senior director of public policy insisted that out-of-state women are simply coming to Illinois for “the abortion care they need and deserve,” Illinois-based Pro-Life Action League president Eric Scheidler (son of pro-life legend Joe Scheidler, who passed away earlier this year), decried the 10% increase as “horrifying,” calling it a “predictable result of our state’s increasingly abortion-friendly environment.”
Scheidler expressed his belief that the increase is directly related to a 2018 insurance coverage change to begin funding abortions for state residents and state Medicaid recipients. He also connected the increase to the opening of multiple new abortion facilities in the state since 2018, including one on the Illinois-Missouri border in 2019 and another during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Waukegan.
Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for Thomas More Society, observed that Illinoisans can expect even sharper increases if Illinois goes through with the currently hotly debated repeal of Illinois’ solitary remaining abortion restriction following the Reproductive Health Act- the requirement for parental notification before a minor can undergo an abortion. While abortions on minors decreased substantially after Illinois’ parental notification law took effect in 2013, Breen asserted, “If parental notice is repealed, it would result in thousands of new underage abortions every year, both on minors from Illinois and our neighboring states.”
Parental notification laws protect girls who may be suffering from sexual abuse at the hands of older boyfriends, coaches, or teachers. Live Action’s Aiding Abusers investigation revealed that abortion businesses, including abortion giant Planned Parenthood, continuously commit abortions on young girls at their abusers’ requests and send the victim back to her abuser. During the investigation, a Planned Parenthood worker was caught on camera aiding sex traffickers and teaching them how to secure abortions for their underage victims.
If Illinois repeals its abortion parental notification law, its abortion numbers could continue to climb, making it an abortion destination for women and for sexual abusers in neighboring states.
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