The 21st Show

More people could travel to Illinois for abortion care

Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads

Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On December 1, 2021, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in what is the biggest case relating to abortion in a generation. The law, which the court seems likely to uphold, bans abortions in the state of Mississippi after 15 weeks. But the case has more far-reaching implications. The landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, or around 23 weeks. If Roe were to be weakened or overturned entirely, abortion access would become much much more difficult in more than half of states, especially in the Midwest and South.

But here in Illinois, where the right to an abortion is recognized by the state supreme court, clinics would see an uptick in patients traveling from out of state. We talked about this potential increase in patients making the long trip to Illinois with a lawyer and professor, the executive director of an Illinois reproductive health clinic, and the executive director of the Midwest Access Coalition. 


Katie Watson, JD

Associate Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Medical Education, and Ob/Gyn Faculty, Medical Humanities & Bioethics Graduate Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine |Author of Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Ordinary Abortion

Erin King, MD 

Executive Director, Hope Clinic for Women, Ltd.

Diana Parker 

Executive Director, Midwest Access Coalition