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Local Ill. Planned Parenthood clinic expands abortion care services

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Springfield, Illinois, on Thursday started offering surgical abortion care, the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

Service expansion details

The Springfield clinic had offered medication abortion since 2010. Planned Parenthood officials said the expansion of services will save patients both time and money otherwise required for travel to seek care elsewhere. Previously, the organization provided surgical abortion care only at its locations in Chicago and Aurora.

Brigid Leahy, Planned Parenthood's Springfield-based director of public policy, said, "We are doing this because we are committed to making sure patients have the services they need."

Surgical abortion will be available for pregnant women up to 18 weeks of gestation every Thursday by appointment, the State Journal-Register reports. Planned Parenthood spokesperson Julie Lynn said the gestational age limit eventually could be expanded to 19 weeks and six days.

Surgical abortion care will be provided by a physician who is not based in the Springfield area.

According to the State Journal-Register, most private insurance plans include coverage for abortion care, but the state's Medicaid program only covers abortion care in the limited instances of rape, incest or when the woman's life or health is in danger. Lynn said Planned Parenthood can collaborate with other organizations to cover all or part of the out-of-pocket cost for low-income women.

New service could spur protests

According to Lynn, the clinic's decision to offer surgical abortion care could spark antiabortion-rights protests.

In anticipation of potential protests, Planned Parenthood has arranged for staff members and volunteers to escort patients from their cars to the clinic on days when the clinic provides abortion care (Olsen, Springfield State Journal-Register, 8/3).