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Illinois Invests More Than $23M Into Reproductive Healthcare

On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois would invest more than $23 million into reproductive healthcare. This comes over a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case that ruled the right to abortion was not "deeply rooted in this Nation's history or tradition." This same case also resulted in the overruling of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which returned the power to individual states to regulate any aspect of abortion not protected by federal law.

As a result, neighboring states of Illinois, such as Missouri and Kentucky, have placed near-total bans on abortion. At the same time, Indiana joins Iowa and Wisconsin in court battles to restrict abortions.

According to NPR, Indiana's near-total abortion ban was set to be enacted on August 1st but was halted due to the ACLU filing a petition of rehearing on behalf of abortion care providers. This has resulted in Planned Parenthood booking and providing appointments until August 1st, but not allowing anything after due to the law.

Because of this, Illinois' new programs will more than likely assist out-of-state abortion seekers. The programs will focus on three significant points: aiding patients in navigating healthcare systems, reducing patient costs, and supporting healthcare facilities.

"Unlike some other states, in the fourteen months since the Supreme Court made the archaic and destructive decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, Illinois has doubled down on our commitment to protect and expand reproductive rights for patients and providers alike," said Pritzker in a Monday press release from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The creation of a family planning program for Medicaid was also announced. This program will provide comprehensive coverage for family planning services for people not eligible for Medicaid. This plan raises the income eligibility for the regular Medicaid program. It includes services such as an annual preventive exam, family planning counseling, all Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of contraception, permanent methods of birth control such as tubal ligation or vasectomy, and basic infertility counseling.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will administer a first-of-its-kind Illinois Reproductive Health Facilities Capital Grant Program. It provides $5 million in capital funding through Rebuild Illinois to support reproductive health care providers in Illinois experiencing increased demand for their services. The grants fund improvements and repairs, new construction, security upgrades, and equipment to increase capacity and enhance safety. This may also include the purchase of vehicles for mobile care units.

Authorization of reproductive health reimbursement for state employees who work out of state will also be provided. According to the press release, approximately 1,600 female state employees or dependents live out-of-state, including some in states where access to reproductive healthcare has been seriously restricted. The Travel Reimbursement Program will cover transportation and lodging for state employees who must travel to access safe and sufficient reproductive healthcare.

Initiatives like these will help local healthcare initiatives like the Chicago Volunteer Doulas. CVD believes in connecting pregnant and birthing people to free and low-cost compassionate labor, postpartum, pregnancy loss support, and information rooted in Black feminist wisdom and healing. CVD envisions a world where all pregnancy and postpartum experiences and outcomes are met with empathy and care.

To find out more information on CVD, read their blog posts here.


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