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Gov. Pritzker Marks Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision with Chicago Abortion Fund Roundtable

Press Release - Monday, January 22, 2024

Leaders in reproductive healthcare and abortion access discuss efforts since Dobbs decision

CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker joined the Chicago Abortion Fund on Monday to commemorate 51 years since the landmark "Roe v. Wade" Supreme Court Decision. Joining Governor Pritzker at the roundtable were CAF leaders, healthcare providers, and advocates for abortion services. The event highlighted the work providers are doing to keep abortion accessible, as well as the healthcare impacts in states where reproductive rights are in jeopardy since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

"Here in the Land of Lincoln, we respect women. And we will give them their privacy, their autonomy, and their freedom," said Governor JB Pritzker. "On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I am here to say that Illinois will remain a safe haven for women from all corners of the nation. I will continue to do everything in my power to expand access to reproductive healthcare and protect patients and providers alike — because like you, I know that abortion access is healthcare."

"Instead of celebrating national progress, women are again fighting for the right to govern their bodies. Today's anniversary is a stark reminder of what our daughters have lost, but we will never stop fighting to restore the light of freedom," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "Illinois remains a safe haven for reproductive care, and we are committed to standing on the right side of history. We trust women."

The discussion focused on the statewide and national atmosphere since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, and the impact on abortion access and reproductive healthcare. Advocates emphasized Illinois' status as a safe haven for reproductive rights in the Midwest, with many surrounding states restricting abortion access.

The discussion emphasized the increased need for reproductive healthcare resources, education, and legislation across the United States, and the strides made by Illinois to protect abortion rights in a "post-Roe world."

Though the national discourse shifted after the Dobbs decision, reproductive healthcare access has been a priority of the Pritzker administration since day one. Since taking office, Governor Pritzker has worked with the Illinois Legislature to:

• Pass the Reproductive Health Act ensuring autonomy in utilizing contraception, abortion, and maternity care,
• Repeal parental notification laws,
• Guarantee legal protections for providers who care for out-of-state patients,
• Increase insurance coverage for reproductive healthcare needs,
• And establish a Reproductive Health Public Navigation hotline to assist patients with locating healthcare, transportation, housing, and financial support.

"At the University of Chicago, we are proud of the compassionate patient-centered and evidence-based care that we are able to provide to our patients, especially considering the current legal landscape," said Dr. Neha Bhardwaj, Assistant Professor, Section of Family Planning, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago. "In the face of these increased barriers to abortion care, we are so grateful to be a part of a strong coalition of Illinois sexual health providers, with a Governor that is committed to our efforts and the preservation of bodily autonomy, and at a University that supports and encourages comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care."

"On the 51st anniversary of Roe, people nationwide are experiencing more barriers to abortion than ever," said Dr. Laura Laursen, Rush Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, CARLA Co-Director. "Access to this essential healthcare is inequitable and based on geography, income, and race. Illinois has been an innovative leader working to alleviate these disparities. Programs like the Complex Abortion Regional Line for Access ensure all patients who need abortions are comprehensively cared for in Illinois with emotional, logistical, financial, and medical support."

"The Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) provides financial, logistical, and emotional support for people seeking abortion care in Chicago, Illinois, and around the Midwest," said Megan Jeyifo, Executive Director, Chicago Abortion Fund. "In the wake of the Dobbs decision, we experienced a staggering 92% increase in support requests from individuals spanning over 40 states, underscoring the pivotal role Illinois plays in the post-Roe landscape. The surge in demand underscores not just the barriers to abortion care but the extraordinary lengths people are forced to go in this new era. Navigating legal restrictions, logistical hurdles, misinformation, and financial obstacles, our callers and those seeking abortion care are facing a maze of complexities. The Chicago Abortion Fund remains unwavering in its dedication to assisting every caller, transcending the limitations set by Roe v. Wade. While we commemorate Roe today, our vision goes well beyond it, to a future where everyone, regardless of who they are, where they are from, or how much money they have can access compassionate abortion care in their own community. We must continue to fight for a future where this care is not just legal, but accessible to all, and provided with dignity and affirmation."

"CSSBC understands that the need for abortion care and access is not isolated from the need for culturally competent, safe, and accessible maternal health care," said Jeanine Valrie Logan, Certified Nurse, Midwife, and Birth Justice Activist, Founder of the Chicago South Side Birth Center (CSSBC) Initiative. "These two issues are the same issue and limiting and/or denying access to abortion care will continue to exacerbate the devastating outcomes for birthing people; especially birthing people of color."

"In Illinois we know just how important it is to elect leaders that believe that abortion is healthcare, and treat it as such in their public policy decisions," said Sarah Garza-Resnik, Personal PAC CEO. "Since the fall of Roe, our governor and General Assembly have taken the incredibly necessary steps to ensure that Illinois remains a safe haven for abortion care and reproductive rights. We at Personal PAC are proud to work alongside our elected leaders like Governor Pritzker and partners like Chicago Abortion Fund to ensure that Illinois is the leading example, and that we push even beyond the protections of Roe to ensure that abortion care is accessible to all who need it."

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