Featured Image
 WICS ABC NewsChannel 20/YouTube/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — The Illinois branch of Planned Parenthood says its abortion facilities have seen a drastic influx of abortion-seeking women after a bevy of Republican-led states nationwide have enacted laws to protect the lives of preborn babies. The phenomenon is part of the ongoing “abortion tourism” trend in which women in pro-life states travel for abortion.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois, which operates 17 facilities across the state, told local ABC affiliate News Channel 20 that the rate of women coming to them for abortions has spiked by 54% since the rollback of Roe v. Wade last year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that ended the nationwide “right to abortion,” states neighboring Illinois, including Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, have passed or begun enforcing strong laws banning abortions and providing felony penalties for doctors who violate the law. Indiana’s ban has been temporarily blocked pending resolution of a court challenge.

But abortion-seeking women aren’t just coming from states that share a border with Illinois. 

Planned Parenthood of Illinois reportedly told the outlet that pregnant moms have traveled from more than 30 states to kill their preborn babies in the Prairie State.

“We are seeing people from places as far away as Texas and Florida, where they have nothing, no access in between their home state and Illinois,” Brigid Leahy, vice president of Planned Parenthood Illinois, told News Channel 20. “Imagine having to travel hundreds of miles to get the care [sic] that you need.”

“The increase is directly the result of other states banning abortion,” Leahy said.

Abortion is legal on demand in Illinois until “fetal viability,” which is usually identified between 22 to 28 weeks’ gestation, and legal up to birth under broadly defined “health” exceptions. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure codifying abortion as a “fundamental right” in 2019.

RELATED: ‘Dumbest legal theory’: Pro-life attorney blasts arguments that ‘religious freedom’ protects abortion

Abortion facilities in Illinois are also seeing a rising number of women seeking to abort their babies at more than 16 weeks’ gestation, at which stage a baby has a heartbeat, unique fingerprints, can suck his thumb, and clearly resembles a very small infant.

Over the past year, the percentage of women seeking abortions in Illinois who came from out of state has jumped from 8% to 13%. The percentage of abortions after 16 weeks’ gestation has risen from 7% to 25%.

Suzanne Moss, executive director of Springfield Right to Life in Illinois, told the outlet her organization has witnessed the reported increase in out-of-state abortion-seekers.

“Our location is right next door to Planned Parenthood in Springfield and so we do see a lot of cars [with] out of state license plates,” Moss told News Channel 20. “We really have become an abortion destination state and that is not surprising to us.”

Moss told the outlet that Illinois residents need to vote more pro-life lawmakers into office.

Live Action noted that, in addition to being an abortion-on-demand state, other radical laws in Illinois further broaden the availability of abortion to both in-state and out-of-state residents.

Under Illinois law, minors can get abortions without parental notification. Additionally, a newly passed measure, HB 4664, provides legal protections for out-of-state abortionists and authorizes nurse practitioners and physician assistants to commit abortions.

Last month, both chambers of the Illinois state legislature passed a measure paving the way for legal action against supposedly “deceptive, fraudulent” pro-life pregnancy centers that allegedly engage in “misleading information and practices” as they educate women about abortion and refuse to encourage mothers to kill their preborn babies.

READ: Illinois passes bill targeting pro-life centers that refuse to commit abortions

To date, 14 states have enacted expansive pro-life laws that ban nearly all abortions statewide. Additional states have passed narrower restrictions and regulations, and many states’ pro-life laws are temporarily on hold due to court challenges.

After the overthrow of Roe v. Wade, which had established a federal “right to abortion” throughout all 50 states, pro-life advocates have emphasized the need to establish tough state pro-life laws and work toward a national recognition of the personhood of unborn babies.