PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The ripple effects of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June and the imminent abortion ban in Indiana are being felt at Planned Parenthood in Peoria.
Kristen Schultz, chief strategy and operations officer at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said the Peoria clinic ordinarily sees 5% of abortion patients from out-of-state, but that number has skyrocketed.
“And just in the last month, we’ve seen that number triple to about 15% of abortion patients seen in Peoria are from out of state, and so we are seeing patients travel to wherever they need to get to seek that abortion care,” she said.
Statewide, Schultz said Illinois has seen a 10 times increase in out-of-state patients since the SCOTUS decision.
“The Supreme Court decision has impacted patient awareness and patient understanding of access. We’ve seen more patients than ever from surrounding states that have enacted bans like Wisconsin and Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Kentucky and even more patients than ever from Indiana,” she said.
And with Indiana’s abortion ban set to take effect in September, those numbers will only increase.
“We have already seen about a 50% increase in our patients from Indiana and we expect to see up to a 10 times increase in our patients in Indiana as the as the ban goes into effect in September,” said Schultz.
But there is no need to worry, Schulz said, as Planned Parenthood of Illinois has been “expanding and preparing for this moment for years.”
“We have been steadily increasing capacity and increasing access, we’ve also launched and expanded our telehealth program, including medication abortion for patients in Illinois,” she said.
In the long term, Schultz said Planned Parenthood of Illinois anticipates a surge of 20,000 to 30,000 additional patients each year, but they are prepared.
We have not experienced excessive wait times. At this point, we’ve been able to stay ahead of that increased demand, and we’ll continue to do that over the coming months and frankly, years,” she said.