Thank you, Planned Parenthood Mobile


Claire Savage/Report for America via AP

A Planned Parenthood health center is shown in Waukegan, Ill., June 28, 2022.

To those left thirsty for hope in a world recently plagued by bad news, look no further. Planned Parenthood has brought positive development to quench that need. 

The non-profit organization has announced that it will soon be providing abortions through a mobile clinic that will travel the borders of Southern Illinois, according to NPR.

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June, Planned Parenthood clinics in Illinois have received overwhelming numbers of patients due to the strict bans on abortions in neighboring states. For reference, a clinic in Fairview Heights that normally receives about 8,000 abortion patients per year expects to see another 14,000, according to a Planned Parenthood representative from that clinic. 

Missouri, which shares Illinois’ southwest border,  implemented incredibly severe policies immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling against Roe v. Wade. Within Missouri borders, abortion is illegal except in cases of medical emergency, no matter the circumstances. Rape and incest are not considered legal justifications for the procedure.

Missouri is not alone in implementing strict anti-abortion laws. The number of patients who are not native to Missouri or Illinois and who are seeking abortions in Illinois-based Planned Parenthood clinics has increased 340%, according to the Associated Press. Illinois stands as a sanctuary for reproductive rights in the Midwest. 

Thankfully, Illinois’ abortion laws are not liable to change, according to the Illinois Reproductive Health Act. The right to choose is listed as a fundamental human right. However, an issue could arise if clinics in Illinois are not able to support the ever-increasing number of patients seeking medical care. 

Because the Land of Lincoln is not in danger of losing its right to bodily autonomy, the state has extra power to expand its influence beyond Illinois’ borders. This is what Planned Parenthood’s life-saving RV will be taking advantage of. Starting in 2023, the mobile clinic will cruise adjoining states’ borders to cut travel time and travel expenses for out-of-state patients, according to Planned Parenthood.

This mobile clinic could be life-saving because the overturn of Roe v. Wade will potentially lead to countless unnecessary deaths.

While many anti-abortionists assume the Supreme Court’s ruling will eliminate abortions, this is a sad mistake. In fact, as found in a study by the Guttmacher Institute, countries with high abortion restrictions still see the procedure exist at about the same extent as it does in countries with fewer restrictions. The number of unsafe abortions does differ, with higher proportions of unsafe abortions in countries with restricted abortion access, according to the Guttmacher Institute. 

The World Health Organization notes 97% of unsafe abortions occur in countries with restricted abortion access. 

We can now expect the number of American deaths to increase due to this cause. According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, unsafe abortions account for 13% of maternal deaths. This ruling will not stop pregnant people from seeking abortions; it will only stop them from seeking safe abortions. 

Unnecessary deaths from unsafe abortions are precisely why the United States needs easily accessible abortions. Rather than seeking out unsafe procedures, patients in states with abortion restrictions can more easily reach Illinoisan clinics.

Third-year law students Sammi Malone and Ashleigh Zurek are co-founders of NIU’s Reproductive Rights Association as well as residing president and treasurer, respectively. 

Similar to the work Planned Parenthood began immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Malone and Zurek described the moment they heard of the ruling as a “call to action,” to form the group.

“I just felt really disappointed in the government and the judicial system,” said Malone. “I kind of went through a little self revelation period where I felt like, you know, ‘why am I into law school, if this is what it amounts to?”

Malone and Zurek said they are in favor of the soon-to-be mobile clinic. 

“I think it’s a phenomenal idea,” said Zurek. “Getting abortion access, I think just getting medical access, to rural communities has always, always been a challenge, and I think this idea of a mobile clinic really, really addresses that head on.” 

It is upsetting that this savior on wheels is even necessary. Perhaps if the science behind the effects of pregnancy on the human body was more often discussed and better understood, we wouldn’t see so many lives endangered. Better yet, society could leave the decisions of what happens to those bodies to the control of their physical owners.

As many a fantastic protest poster has stated: mind your own uterus. 

For the moment we have been effectively thrown back 49 years to before the ruling of Roe vs. Wade. Therefore, it is a relief that there are organizations actively working to protect the autonomy of the female body.