The city of Chicago is providing $500,000 to increase access to abortion, particularly for poor people and people of color, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to end the nationwide right to legal abortion.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that the money will go to providers as well as organizations such as the Chicago Abortion Fund and Midwest Access Coalition, which provide lodging, transportation, meals and other support to people seeking abortions. Funding will be available for Chicago residents and people from across the U.S.
A draft Supreme Court opinion leaked last week suggested the court would overturn the landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade.
“So we've got to be ready, and we've got to step up,” Lightfoot said.
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Chicago and Illinois already have been seen an increase in the number of people from out-of-state seeking abortions because it is surrounded by states that have restricted access in recent years. If the court rules as expected, Planned Parenthood of Illinois is preparing to see double to five times the number of patients it currently sees for abortion care, said Jennifer Welch, the organization's president and CEO.
“Millions of people will find themselves in a vast abortion desert,” Welch said. “And that’s where Illinois comes in as the oasis for care.”
Lightfoot said the $500,000, which comes from the city's Department of Public Health and Environment budget, may increase in future years.