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Anti-abortion protesters regulary walk the sidewalks outside the Hope Clinic for Women located in Granite City, Illinois.

Anti-abortion protesters regulary walk the sidewalks outside the Hope Clinic for Women located in Granite City, Illinois.

dholtmann@bnd.com

If the country’s highest court overturns a ruling protecting the right to have an abortion, Illinois will remain a “safe and legal” place for people to seek reproductive care, Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday.

“No matter what atrocity of an opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe versus Wade, abortion will always be safe and legal here in Illinois,” Pritzker said at a news conference in Chicago. “Illinois is and will remain a beacon of hope in an increasingly dark world. I will fight like hell. ”

The governor spoke following the leak of a draft opinion from a majority of the US Supreme Court justices that would overturn the 1973 ruling. The authenticity of the draft, first published by Politico, had not been verified as of Tuesday morning and was not final. If it is authentic, justices could still change their votes.

But abortion rights advocates have long predicted the fall of Roe v. Wade. As an accessible region to conservative Midwest and southern states, the metro-east is at the center of preparation for more patients to seek care in Illinois.

If Roe is reversed, Planned Parenthood of the St. The Louis region expects upwards of 14,000 patients from Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee, to travel to southern Illinois for abortions. The organization’s analysis estimates all the states bordering Illinois would move quickly to ban it.

Two metro-east clinics that offer abortions announced in January a service to help pay travel costs for out-of-state patients coming to Illinois.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, which has a clinic in Fairview Heights, and the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City will operate the Regional Logistics Center located in the Planned Parenthood’s center in Fairview Heights.

The logistics center is being billed as a “travel agency,” where women can get assistance in arranging and funding travel to the metro-east. This help includes covering the cost of plane tickets and lodging. There are no income limits for participants.

Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said the draft “previews what we’ve long been preparing for.” She said patients should continue to go to their appointments.

“We knew this opinion was coming and while it’s not official, it brings us one step closer to an impending public health crisis,” Rodríguez said. “Abortion remains legal today. No matter what, with our partners, we will fight for what little is left of abortion access in Missouri and push forward to expand in Illinois where abortion access is protected beyond Roe. ”

Kelsey Landis is an Illinois state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat. She joined the newsroom in January 2020 after her first stint at the paper from 2016 to 2018. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2010 and earned a master’s from DePaul University in 2014. Landis previously worked at The Alton Telegraph. At the BND, she focuses on informing you about what your lawmakers are doing in Springfield and Washington, DC, and she works to keep them accountable. Landis has won the Illinois Press Association awards for her work, including the Freedom of Information Award.

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