The 21st Show

Iowa’s New Abortion Law; Why Starved Rock Is Getting Crowded; Illinois Outdoor Destinations

Protestors of the new abortion law

Protesters rally outside Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' formal office, Friday, May 4, 2018, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. The protest called for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to veto a six-week abortion ban bill that would give the state the strictest abortion restrictions in the nation. Charlie Neibergall/AP

On The 21st: The most restrictive abortion bill in the nation has become law in neighboring Iowa. What does it actually do, and how does it affect women in both Iowa and Illinois? Plus, Starved Rock State Park is getting more regular visitors than even some national parks—and resources to maintain the park are getting stretched thin. And, we'll give you some recommendations for getting outside and enjoying the warm weather.

Late last week, our neighbors to the west, in Iowa, signed into law one of the country's most restrictive abortion bills. This so-called "heartbeat" legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which is at about six weeks of pregnancy. Here in Illinois, aa fetus is considered viable at around 23-24 weeks gestation, and abortions are legal up until that point, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.

The law, which goes into effect in July, will likely be challenged in court. However, there may be an impact on women in Illinois.

We know that many women travel to Illinois to get abortions as our laws are often less restrictive. But, in the western part of the state, it can be easier to obtain abortions in Iowa. But now that the law is changing, so too might their options.

Katarina Sostaric has been reporting on this new legislation for Iowa Public Radio. She joined us on the show today to talk about this latest bill. 

Also joining us from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago was lawyer and professor of Medical humanities and bioethics, Katie Watson. 

Sharon Lau was also on the show today to talk about the bill. She is the Director of Clinical Services at Whole Woman’s Health, a nation-wide operator of clinics for women that provides comprehensive care, which includes abortions. Whole Woman’s Health operates one Illinois clinic in Peoria.


After a long, cold Illinois winter, we finally have a sunny spring. And for many, this means it's the perfect weather to spend more time outdoors, perhaps taking a long weekend to do some hiking.

An option for that may be Starved Rock State Park, as it is for many people. Site superintendent Kerry Novak recently checked in on how many people visited Starved Rock since 2014, and the answer was 10.4 million.

All of that is taking a toll on the park’s physical landscape. Novak joined us on the show today to talk about how the large amount of visitors over the last couple years has impacted the park and its surrounding areas. He is site superintendent of Starved Rock and Matthiesen State Parks.

Also joining us was Tom Collins, reporter with the LaSalle News Tribune in the Illinois Valley. He has been reporting on this for that paper.


If Starved Rock and even Matthiesen Park seem too crowded, there are plenty of other "off the beaten path" destinations. 

Nuno Ribeiro, an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Sport & Tourism at the University of Illinois, joined us today to talk about the various outdoor spots in Illinois that could be an alternative hike to Starved Rock. 

In case you missed Nuno's list of outdoor recommendations, here they are:

Story source: WILL