Wisconsin doctors team up with Plan Parenthood of Illinois to provide abortion care | Chicago News

Illinois is considered an abortion access island, with many surrounding states now restricting the practice since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.

But doctors at Planned Parenthood Wisconsin have found a way to continue providing services.

Working with Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Wisconsin doctors and their patients travel to Illinois for abortion care.

Planned Parenthood in the northern suburb of Waukegan opened in 2020 in anticipation of Roe’s overthrow. Wisconsin doctors trained with Planned Parenthood after the Dobbs decision and began providing care earlier this month.

Dr. Kathy King, OBGYN and Associate Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, traveled interstate to provide patient care.

Last Thursday, while providing care, she said the majority of patients and doctors performing abortions at the facility were from Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood of Illinois said there has been a 10-fold increase in the number of Wisconsin residents coming to Illinois to access abortions since the Supreme Court ruling.

“While we are extremely grateful and excited to be able to use this space in Waukegan to provide care, it is nonetheless heartbreaking that people have to travel out of state to access care,” King said.

Prior to Dobbs, Wisconsin law created barriers to accessing abortion care, even if it was legal, King said.

This included requiring mandatory counseling, ultrasounds and waiting periods for abortions. Additionally, only licensed physicians were able to perform abortions, although other medical professionals, such as nurse practitioners, can perform abortions in other states.

There’s also the financial barrier to accessing care, King said. People may need help to afford care, afford to travel to get that care, and other expenses that come with out-of-state travel, she added.

Although anti-abortion advocates have spoken of preventing patients from crossing state lines to access abortions, King pointed out that Wisconsin does not criminalize patients seeking abortions.

“There’s a lot of confusion among patients for fear they’re doing something wrong,” King said. “And so we really try to provide them with factual advice.”

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