CHICAGO (WMBD) — Gov. JB Pritzker (D-Ill.) is making Illinois’ role in providing abortion access a key issue for the upcoming election.
During a Tuesday presser with Planned Parenthood representatives, Pritzker stressed voters to choose pro-choice candidates up and down the ballot this November.
“We must elect pro-choice candidates. We cannot stand by while extremist retrograde Republican politicians and judges treat women like second class citizens,” said Pritzker.
Pritzker said the SCOTUS decision will hurt Republicans in November.
“I believe to my core, reproductive rights are human rights, and the Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe was a shameful right wing abrogation of those rights. They’ve unleashed a tsunami of determined women voters and their allies who will lift up pro-choice candidates and take down the ultra conservative fundamentalists this November,” he said.
Alexis McGill-Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said one in three women have lost access to abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
She said abortion has been banned in 16 states, but at least 26 states are expected to ban abortion, affecting 40 million women.
“We are in a public health crisis, and the role Illinois must play on the national stage cannot be overstated…24 states cannot absorb the abortion needs of 50 states,” said McGill-Johnson.
Jennifer Welch, chair of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action PAC, said 30% of abortion patients are traveling to Illinois from 20 states. She said Illinois must do more than just protect abortion rights.
“Illinois needs to protect providers and patients. We need to cut the red tape to eliminate barriers for providers and patients, and allocate funds to support equitable care to access. PPIL is calling for increased protection and increased funding for providers, so we can build new health centers, safe centers and services to handle the influx of patients,” she said.
Missouri was the first state to ban abortion after the SCOTUS decision.
Yamelsie Rodríguez, CEO of Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said the Planned Parenthood Fairview Heights clinic in Southern Illinois has seen wait times skyrocket from three or four days to two to four weeks.
She said Illinois is a critical access point for abortion care in the Midwest and needs more resources for patients and providers alike.
“Illinois is a place of hope for the thousands of patients being faced to flee their home states for care… Expanding the pool of providers that can perform in-clinic abortions, ensuring providers and patients are free from criminal prosecution in other states where abortion is banned is critical, and also the practical support that’s needed to ensure patients travelling hundreds of miles to access abortion in Illinois,” she said.
Pritzker also took a dig at his gubernatorial opponent, Republican Darren Bailey.
“Darren Bailey’s dangerous politics are a threat to women and girls everywhere. This is not a drill.. This is an actual emergency,” he said.
WMBD reached out Bailey’s campaign for comment.