Illinois Planned Parenthood planning for more out-of-state clients if Roe v. Wade overturned

NOW: Illinois Planned Parenthood planning for more out-of-state clients if Roe v. Wade overturned

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Planned Parenthoods of Wisconsin and Illinois are talking about the fate of Roe v. Wade.

They're working on a way to help women if it's overturned and abortion becomes illegal in Wisconsin.

Illinois Planned Parenthood officials said they expect to see up to five times more people in their clinics across Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

"We have anticipated this outcome for years," said Illinois Planned Parenthood Chief Strategist and Operations Officer Kristen Schultz.

She said if Roe v. Wade is overturned, they expect to become a regional abortion provider for women in the Midwest, something they're already preparing for.

"We opened our health center in Waukegan just across the border from Wisconsin in 2020, so this has been many years in planning phases and execution phases," said Schultz.

She said they're planning to deal with two to five times more clients, using things like telehealth and more staffing.

"A number of different efforts to ensure that we can see that additional capacity and that surge volume that is seeking care from out of state," said Schultz.

Michelle Velasquez, Planned Parenthood Wisconsin director of legal advocacy and services, says it remains to be seen if the 1849 abortion law in Wisconsin will be the new precedent if Roe v. Wade is overturned, but they plan to act accordingly to protect their staff.

"We absolutely would have to pause abortion services while that decision and that gets played out, because we don't want to put our providers or staff at risk," said Velasquez.

Velasquez said their efforts will likely be refocused on coordinating and getting transportation for those seeking abortion care in Illinois.

"Folks from other parts of the state are already traveling and sort of having to go a distance, but now they'll need to go even further," said Velasquez.

Velasquez says care unrelated to the abortion itself will remain in Wisconsin, as their goal is centering their clients.

"To maximize and protect access for women in Wisconsin in the long run," said Velasquez.

Officials with Planned Parenthood Illinois say many of their clients from Wisconsin already cross the border for care in Waukegan.

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