Illinois is an abortion “haven” with few restrictions on the procedure, says a recent report in the Chicago Tribune that cites thousands of women traveling into the state to end their pregnancies.
According to the report, in 2017, 5,528 women traveled to Illinois from other states to have abortions — nearly a thousand more than the 4,543 women who arrived in 2016.
State records indicate that, in 2016, 38,382 abortions were performed in Illinois. However, that number jumped up to 39,329 in 2017.
Terry Cosgrove, president and CEO of abortion rights lobbying group Personal PAC, said the reason why women must travel to Illinois for abortions is “pure misogyny.”
“So many states around us are enacting dangerous restrictions that put the health and lives of women at risk, so women have no choice really but to come to Illinois,” he told the Tribune.
In Iowa, for example, abortions are prohibited past the fifth month of pregnancy.
“When access to abortion is politically restricted, those who have the means to travel will do so, and those without means are left most vulnerable,” said Becca Lee, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “If someone can travel, they may be forced to take time from work, incur additional expenses, take time from family and make other sacrifices in order to access a safe, legal abortion procedure — and they shouldn’t have to.”
However, Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, said the fact that the number of Illinois abortions is increasing due to women traveling from out of state is a sign that her state is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable human beings.
“The increase in abortions performed on out-of-state women is indicative of how truly regressive we are when it comes to protecting pre-born children in our state,” she said. “Illinois is an outlier amongst our neighbors, whose legislatures have consulted science and found that discouraging abortions is in the best interest of their residents.”
In Iowa, abortions have been at “historic lows,” said Caitlyn Dixson, executive director of Iowa Right to Life. She attributed the drop in numbers of abortions, in part, to restrictions on the procedure.
“I think women are simply choosing not to terminate,” she said. “I believe that this decline goes hand in hand with the climate in Iowa, particularly after seeing the results of this last election.”
In November, pro-life incumbent Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds defeated pro-abortion rights Democrat Fred Hubbell — a former Planned Parenthood board member.
Though outgoing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is a Republican, he outraged the pro-life base of his party by signing into law a bill that forced taxpayers to pay for abortions through Medicaid funding and ensured that even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would remain legal in Illinois.
“I also believe that no woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on her income,” Rauner said. “I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose.”
Rauner’s pro-abortion views did not help him win a second term as governor. He lost to Democrat challenger J.B. Pritzker.