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Abortions still legal in Illinois after Roe v. Wade overturned

In Illinois, abortion is protected under state law until a fetus is viable outside the womb. The state has about two dozen clinics that primarily perform abortions.

ST. LOUIS — The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected a pregnant woman's right to choose to have an abortion, immediately bans or places restrictions on the procedure in more than 20 states, including Missouri.

In Illinois, however, abortion is protected under state law until a fetus is viable outside the womb.

The Illinois Reproductive Health Act, signed into law in June 2019 by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker after passing both chambers of the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, also repealed a 1970s law that banned abortions after 12 weeks. No doctor was ever charged with violating that law.

Under the Illinois Reproductive Health Act, women have the "fundamental right" to access abortion services. It goes on to say that a "fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights."

Illinois went one step further last fall when the House and Senate passed a bill to repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which, since 1995, required a minor to notify a parent or guardian if they wanted to obtain an abortion. Pritzker also signed that bill into law, which took effect on June 1.

Illinois has about two dozen clinics that primarily perform abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. Two of the clinics are in the Metro East.

Women can access reproductive health services at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City and at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region's health center in Fairview Heights.

About 15 additional hospitals, clinics or doctor's offices perform abortions in the state, the Guttmacher Institute reported.

The last remaining clinic that performed abortions in Missouri — a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood — no longer offers the procedure because the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, a so-called trigger law, went into effect once Roe v. Wade was overturned.

The new Missouri law does not guarantee the right to an abortion in cases of incest or rape, rather only when not performing the procedure would cause a pregnant woman to die or would create "irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function."

Any health care provider who "knowingly performs or induces an abortion" could be charged with a class B felony, which carries a sentencing range of between five to 15 years, and possible "suspension or revocation of his or her professional license."

The Guttmacher Institute reported that in 2020, the most recent year for which nationwide figures are available, 930,160 women in the United States underwent an abortion.

In Illinois, 46,243 women received the procedure in 2020 compared with 151 in Missouri in 2021, according to data from each state's health department.

Health care providers in Illinois can still refuse to perform abortions under the Health Care Right of Conscience Act, but they must ensure a woman is given information to access care elsewhere.

Since the Planned Parenthood health center in Fairview Heights opened in 2019, more than 10,000 Missouri women have crossed state lines to undergo the procedure.

Correction: June 17, 2022
An earlier version of this report misstated the most recent year for which nationwide abortion figures were available. It has been updated to include figures from 2020 released earlier this month by the Guttmacher Institute.

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