Abortions on out-of-state residents jumped dramatically in 2020, according to the latest statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Chicago Tribune reported a nearly 29% year-over-year increase, with 9,686 out-of-state women procuring abortions in 2020 versus 7,534 just one-year prior. The 2019 statistic in turn represented a 10% increase over 2018.
The most recent number forms another data point in a trend of ever-increasing out-of-state abortions that started back in 2014. The uptick of abortions on out-of-state residents occurred even as Illinois residents had slightly fewer abortions during the same timeframe.
According to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s and Reproductive Rights project director Ameri Klafeta, the most recent abortion numbers are a testament to Illinois’ unrelenting dedication to abortion access at all costs. She also pointed to the role of abortion restrictions in surrounding states, commenting, “This time period has been marked by escalating activity in many other states — including many in the Midwest — to choke off access to such care.” She opined, “Banning abortion and other reproductive health care in these surrounding states does not erase the need for access to critical health care — despite the magical thinking of anti-abortion politicians inside and outside Illinois’ borders.” She believes it is “hopeful and helpful that some number of those affected by these regressive laws are able to get care in our state.”
Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ president and CEO Jennifer Welch anticipated that the upward trend will only continue in the context of ongoing and future “harmful and unconstitutional abortion bans and restrictions” enacted by the states that border Illinois.
Just last month, Live Action News reported that Planned Parenthood opened a “regional logistics center” on the Illinois-Missouri border in Fairview Heights, Illinois, to arrange transportation and other practical matters for out-of-state women seeking to travel to Illinois for abortions. As the largest abortion provider in Illinois, Planned Parenthood has every financial reason to celebrate the increase in abortions on out-of-state residents.
Illinois’ abortion statistics aren’t occurring in a vacuum. Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel Peter Breen concurred with Welch’s assessment that out-of-state abortions will only increase, saying, “When you look at the way Illinois has legislated, it makes sense that folks from out of state would stream into Illinois to get abortions.”
He observed that Illinois abortion legislation, including the recent repeal of parental notification before minors undergo abortions, is driven by politicians rather than parents and other Illinois citizens. “I don’t think the people of Illinois wanted our state to become known as the abortion capital of the Midwest,” he said, “but our legislators and government have decided to move us in that direction.”
March for Life Chicago director Kevin Grillot agreed, noting, “Illinois is drastically out of step with the rest of the Midwest. The last five years, Illinois legislators have prioritized the abortion industry over the people that they represent.”
Indeed, polling ahead of the parental notification repeal indicated that majorities of both pro-life and pro-abortion parents wanted to keep the commonsense notification requirement prior to an abortion. Breen expected that the notification repeal will further drive up abortions among out-of-state minors — an action that may mean even higher abortion numbers in years to come.
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