Abortions increased in the state of Illinois by 7% between 2017 and 2018 according to new figures released by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The annual Illinois report shows that over 42,000 pregnancies were terminated statewide in 2018. Approximately 48% of abortions that occurred in 2017 were performed between 4 and 7 weeks of gestation. 27 percent were performed on women in their 30s and 63 percent were performed on women reporting at least one live birth prior to the terminated pregnancy. 79 percent of the pregnancies were performed on women who were unmarried with 11 percent not reporting a marital status. More than 56% reported that they had not received an abortion previously.
Many abortion opponents link the increase to a state law that went into effect in 2018 expanding taxpayer-subsidized abortions. The law allows state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions and also made sure that abortions remain legal. Many abortion-rights supporters say it’s impossible to attribute the increase to any particular cause.
The Illinois figures also showed a slight increase in the number of women who came from other states for the procedure, with 5,668 out-of-state patients in 2018. Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate largely attributed this travel to more restrictive laws in nearby states. Despite the increase in 2018, the number of abortions in the state show a decrease from the previous three decades. An average of over 50,000 were terminated annually in the mid-1990s. Data for 2019 is not expected to be released for about a year.