Abortion providers in Illinois are bracing themselves for a "potential surge of patients" as the Supreme Court meanwhile considers Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case that "could chip away at federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade," The Wall Street Journal reports.
Though the case is focused on a law in Mississippi preventing abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the state in its brief "took direct aim at the 1973 Roe decision, arguing the ruling tramples states' rights," writes the Journal. If the court rules to weaken Roe or strike it down in total, state abortion laws would become either more significant or all-powerful, depending.
That said, Illinois is a safe haven, reports the Journal; it's one of over a dozen states to "have passed laws protecting abortion rights, including New York and California." And state clinic directors and abortion-rights advocates have thus already begun "anticipating the possibility of a post-Roe America," as more and more out-of-state patients arrive in Illinois for care.
The state borders five others that "could ban or further restrict abortion if federal protections are weakened or overturned," the Journal explains, per the Guttmacher Institute, and providers have strategically opened clinics and centers to accommodate cross-state traffic. They've also increased staffing, expanded hours, and begun discussing with colleagues nationwide how to handle an influx of patients if abortion is outlawed in other locales.
"All of our building in the last five years has been with the possibility of a loss of Roe in mind," Jennifer Welch, president of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, told the Journal. If federal protections are weakened, the group is reportedly preparing to serve "up to five times as many patients."
Added executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund Megan Jeyifo: "We recognize how critical Illinois is and the kind of mandate that we have."