Oct 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood opening first RV clinic to provide abortion services

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A Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis in May 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Planned Parenthood announced plans on Monday to open its first mobile clinic to provide abortion services, launching a program in Illinois to expand its footprint near the state's borders with Missouri and Kentucky.

The big picture: Since the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, 17 states have moved to ban or restrict the procedure.

  • Since the Dobbs decision, Planned Parenthood's Fairview Heights clinic in Illinois, located just 20 miles from the Illinois-Missouri border, has seen a 30% increase in abortion patients, the organization said.
  • The clinic has also seen a 340% increase in patients traveling from outside Illinois and Missouri.
  • The clinic typically received patients from Missouri as well as those traveling from the midwest and south, such as from Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood told Axios.

Driving the news: The mobile clinic will be outfitted in an RV and will serve patients along the Illinois border and provide the full slate of services usually provided by a brick-and-mortar Planned Parenthood, per a press release.

  • The mobile clinic will help Planned Parenthood reduce wait times and travel distances for patients as well as free up capacity at the Fairview Heights clinic.
  • The mobile clinic will have a waiting room, a lab and two exam rooms, and will provide medicated abortions up to 11 weeks gestation. It has plans to offer procedural abortions in the future.
  • The mobile clinic will begin seeing patients at the end of October or early November, the spokesperson told Axios.
  • Planned Parenthood has other mobile clinics in the past that have offered family planning services, this is the first to provide abortion services, the spokesperson added.

What they're saying: "One hundred days post-Roe we stand in defiance to say: we are not backing down," Yamelsie Rodriguez, president of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said in the press release.

  • "Abortion bans, 'defunding’ Planned Parenthood, and attacks on reproductive freedoms writ large are deeply unpopular," Rodriguez added.
  • "We're standing in the gap created by politicians and ensuring all people can access the health care they deserve, no matter where they live."
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