August 13, 2022

Duckworth on Chicago’s West Side: We Must Protect Reproductive Healthcare for All


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today visited a Planned Parenthood Health Center in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood to meet with the facility’s leadership and staff and discuss how she will continue to support the clinic’s work from the federal level, including by working to enshrine access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare—including abortion—into law. With Roe now overturned and Illinois continuing to serve as a beacon for thousands of Americans traveling for abortions, Duckworth and the group also spoke about the now-intensified need to protect the privacy, emotional wellbeing and physical safety of Chicago’s expected influx of patients. The Senator and the group continued by discussing the clinic’s commitment to equitable healthcare in the predominately working and Black and Brown Austin community. Photos from the meeting are available here.

“I was glad to be at the Planned Parenthood in Austin today meeting with providers and staff,” said Duckworth. “Their work making sure people, particularly Black and Brown women, have access to reproductive and prenatal care has been critically important for years—but with the Supreme Court overturning Roe and states like Wisconsin and Missouri making abortions inaccessible, the importance of this clinic, and its work, will only continue to grow. I’m proud that Illinois has some of the strongest protections for reproductive health in the country and places like this clinic are here to help people from all across the Midwest, but that’s not enough. I won’t stop working to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law and ensure reproductive freedoms are protected for all—regardless of skin color, zip code or income.”

“It is an honor to host Senator Duckworth at the Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) health center in the Austin neighborhood,” said Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Jennifer Welch. “We offered a firsthand look at how we provide individuals with vital and local care during this reproductive healthcare crisis. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, PPIL has served a historic increase in out-of-state patients who are forced to travel from farther distances and from more states than ever before. It's crucial we continue to meet this demand while still providing essential reproductive health care like family planning, cancer screenings and STI services. We thank Senator Duckworth for her work to keep Illinois a safe haven for health care in the Midwest, and we look forward to further expanding Illinois’ ability to serve our patients no matter where they live or are forced to travel from.”

Duckworth has made protecting and expanding access to essential reproductive healthcare a top priority. Last week, she introduced the Reproductive Healthcare Accessibility Act to help ensure women with disabilities—who face discrimination and extra barriers when seeking care—can access reproductive services and get the informed care they need to have control over their own reproductive lives. In July, she introduced the Right to Contraception Act, legislation that would codify the fundamental and constitutional right to contraception, just days after writing to President Biden and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging them to immediately declare national and public health emergencies over Americans’ access to reproductive care.

In May, she visited Hope Clinic in Granite City, IL and met with Director Erin King and staff to share her support for ensuring Americans everywhere can access safe and necessary healthcare. Weeks later, she helped introduce a resolution opposing the criminalization of the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare, including abortion, gender-affirming care and contraceptive care. The resolution also disapproves of the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. Also in May, she voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would help protect women’s constitutional right to choose, which was ultimately blocked by Senate Republicans. In a speech on the Senate floor she shared her support of Americans’ reproductive rights and urged her colleagues to pass the WHPA. Additionally, Duckworth is the lead sponsor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Healthcare (EACH) Act, which would end the Hyde Amendment and lift unjust abortion coverage restrictions for those who depend on Medicaid and other government-sponsored plans.