Abortion seekers can come to Illinois and 'be protected and safe,' but more resources needed, leaders say

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake joined with the state's top abortion providers Friday to call for more government resources to help care for women expected to flock to Illinois from states that will ban or severely limit the procedure.

Jennifer Welch, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, said experts expect the state will see between 20,000 and 30,000 additional people a year seeking abortions as a result of the Supreme Court's ruling Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade. Welch said state leaders must increase funding, cut red tape for abortion providers and push forward all possible progress for abortion care in Illinois.

After the draft decision of the Supreme Court's ruling was leaked in May, Lightfoot pledged $500,000 from the city budget to increase access to reproductive health care for Chicagoans and all patients seeking care across the region and the United States. On Friday, Lightfoot said that was a down payment and more can be done at the city, county and state level to help abortion providers.

"All of us are deeply committed to making sure that women who are worried and are scared, no matter where they live, know that they can come to our city and our state and be protected and safe," Lightfoot said.

Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, in recent years has helped pass laws ensuring Illinois women would still have access to safe and legal abortions should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and that reproductive health care is treated like all other health care.

"I am very proud of what we've done here in Illinois, but it's not enough," Bush said.

Bush, who is retiring at the end of her term, warned that if people don't vote in upcoming elections Illinois might not remain a place where abortion rights are protected.

"We are one election away from being like any other state," Bush said.

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