CHICAGO (AP) — As neighboring states enact increasingly stringent abortion laws, Illinois has seen a significant rise in the number of women who have come to the state for abortions.
According to the most recent Illinois Department of Public Health data available, nearly 9,700 out-of-state women terminated a pregnancy in Illinois in 2020 compared to just over 7,500 in 2019, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Advocates on both sides of the debate over abortion said the increase was expected, in large part because nearby states have been enacting new laws to make it more difficult to have an abortion and put more regulations on clinics.
Those numbers could climb even higher, depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court decides on one of the most significant abortion case in years, that of Dobbs v. Jackson, a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion past 15 weeks gestation. If the court upholds the law, something many experts expect to happen, it could determine the fate of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established the right to terminate a pregnancy nationwide.
That would leave abortion rights up to the states. And with experts predicting about half the country would ban or significantly restrict abortion, including all of those adjacent to Illinois, it could drive the numbers in the state far higher.
“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,” said Peter Breen, a former Illinois lawmaker and prominent abortion opponent.