ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- The Department of Public Heath says more than 5,000 women traveled to the state to have abortions last year. It's the highest number in almost 25-years.
Illinois has some of the strongest abortion rights in the nation. It's evident when you look specifically in the Midwest. While lawmakers here expanded abortion rights, neighbors are cutting back.
In the last year alone, Iowa and Ohio have restricted access. The number of women getting abortions in-state has dropped over the same duration of time.
Abortion rights advocates argue it's because more women have access to contraception and, while they're happy the state is a leader when it comes to reproductive rights, pro-life groups say they're hoping somehow things turn around.
The topic of abortion continues to be a divisive issue. While pro-choice groups seem to be winning the debate in Illinois, organizers say they can't let their guard down, especially with a conservatively-dominated Supreme Court.
Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a controversial bill to expand and strengthen abortion rights in the state. During the campaign, Governor-elect JB Pritzker vowed to keep those added protections in place.
In the last year, in-state abortions increased by about 1,000 women, HB40 expanded abortion access to Medicaid recipients last year. IDPH does not have a break down showing how many more Medicaid recipients took advantage of the new law.
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