On Monday, officials from Planned Parenthood unveiled plans for a mobile abortion clinic in Illinois that will travel to neighboring states that have banned the procedure since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision, unlike Illinois, other states such as Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, along with several other states in the South and Midwest, have removed constitutional protections for abortions.
St. Louis Planned Parenthood officials announced in June that their Fairview Heights clinic saw a 30% increase in abortion patients. The rate was even higher than expected, with a 340% increase in patients from Missouri and Illinois.
Planned Parenthood’s CEO Yamelsie Rodriguez said abortion appointment wait times have increased from four days to two-and-a-half weeks since the Supreme Court ruling.
“The mobile abortion clinic is a way to reduce travel times and distances in order to meet patients at the Illinois border,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis office. “This will make a dramatic impact on their access.”
By the end of the year, the RV is expected to be operational in southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky, and northeastern Tennessee.
As a first step, Planned Parenthood will offer medication abortions up to 11 weeks of gestation at the clinic. After a few months, it hopes to provide surgical abortions as well.