Waukegan, ILNearly three weeks following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaders of the Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) affiliates held a virtual press conference on July 14, to announce an innovative partnership to bring medical professionals to Illinois to meet the growing patient need for abortion care.
The Waukegan PPIL Health Center opened in 2020, near the Wisconsin border, in anticipation of PPWI patients losing access to care. Now that Roe has been overturned, and PPWI has been forced to suspend abortion care, Wisconsin clinicians, nurses and staff are traveling to the Waukegan Health Center to provide care and expand capacity at that health center as well as across Illinois through telehealth.
"Because abortion is safe and legal in Illinois, we are now an oasis for care, as millions of patients are stranded in a vast abortion desert, including Wisconsin residents," said Jennifer Welch, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Illinois. "Fortunately, trained medical professionals from Wisconsin are providing the care patients need in Illinois, and Illinois has the space to accommodate this increase of staff and patients. So, while PPWI is temporarily suspending providing abortion care, Wisconsin patients can access services in Illinois. Together, we are working to ensure all of our patients get the care they need."
"At PPWI, we have anticipated this difficult moment for years and worked with our health care partners at PPIL and others to do what we can to protect and enhance access to safe, non-judgmental abortion care for patients traveling across state lines," said Tanya Atkinson, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. "Despite the devastating impact of Wisconsin's criminal abortion ban, we are grateful to the dedicated patient services team who are doing everything they can to meet the growing patient demand next door."
The abortion ban has forced people in Wisconsin to travel far distances for health care at great cost and disruption to their personal lives. Since the Supreme Court's decision, PPWI's and PPIL's call volume has doubled and all abortion patients in Wisconsin are being referred out of state for care. PPIL's abortion care for Wisconsin residents has increased 10 fold since Roe was overturned.
PPWI remains open and its staff are continuing to provide patients with timely information, support, financial resources and access to abortion services and follow-up care. Patients in Wisconsin can access appointments for abortion care out of state through PPWI's call center and online at its website.