Vast Majority of Patients at Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ Newest Clinic in Carbondale Come From Out of State

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

It’s been about six months since Planned Parenthood of Illinois opened its newest Illinois clinic in Carbondale, home to the main campus of Southern Illinois University.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

In that time, the overwhelming majority of those getting care at that clinic haven’t lived in Illinois. 

Three-quarters of the patients served by the Carbondale clinic have come from out of state, the organization said in numbers released Monday. Of those out of state patients, 88% reside in states where abortion access is restricted, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri.

“We looked at the map and we knew that it was the best possible town in southern Illinois to serve the whole southern Illinois community, and it also is a great location for the surrounding states — none of which have access to abortion,” Jennifer Welch, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, told WTTW when the center opened. “It’s relatively easy to get to for our neighbors in Kentucky and Tennessee, and it even has a direct train line from New Orleans.”

Even before the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe’s national abortion protections, the organization purposefully built or staffed up clinics along Illinois’ border.

A clinic in south suburban Flossmoor, some 13 miles from Munster, Indiana, opened in 2018; a clinic in Waukegan, less than 10 miles from the Wisconsin state line, opened in 2020; and the clinic in the college community of Champaign, roughly an hour from the Indiana border, expanded in 2022.

That year, Planned Parenthood also moved its Chicago Loop health center to a larger location.

Planned Parenthood also said it expanded a program that sends abortion pills by mail and advocated for a 2023 law (Public Act 102-1117) that allows advanced practice nurses to perform abortions that don’t require anesthesia.

Abortions and other reproductive health decisions, including fertility or sterilization treatments, are set to be classified as a protected human right in Illinois under a measure (House Bill 4867) lawmakers passed this spring.

Another reproductive health bill waiting Gov. J.B. Pritkzer’s signature would lift Illinois’ requirement that insurers cover four rounds of in vitro fertilization, and mandate insurers cover as many rounds of IVF as necessary.

Illinois law contains strong protections for reproductive care, but the General Assembly has not moved to make abortion a constitutionally protected right, despite aspirations from leading politicians.

Contact Amanda Vinicky: @AmandaVinicky[email protected]

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors