CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Abortion patients will now have more options of getting medication abortion pills after the FDA recently approved pharmacies to distribute them.

Before, patients could only get medication in a health center or have it mailed to an Illinois address. For those who live out of state, it became difficult and added extra travel.

Now, Jennifer Welch, CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois, said this will allow for out-of-state patients to use telehealth and only make one trip to an Illinois pharmacy.

“Allowing some more patients to use telehealth as an option means that more appointments are available for in-health center care when that’s the only option for certain types of care,” Welch said.

She hopes that this will give an ease to healthcare providers at the Champaign clinic who have seen an uptick in appointments since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Over one-third of patients in Champaign are from out of state.

Welch also provided a longer statement in a press release that came through Planned Parenthood’s media relations:

We’ve known for years that medication abortion care is overwhelmingly safe and effective. The FDA’s announcement is another step in the right direction for health equity. Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) began mailing medication abortion pills to patients with an Illinois address in April 2022.  This new regulation means that Illinois patients may soon be able to walk into their neighborhood pharmacy with a prescription and walk out with their medication in hand. For patients traveling from a state where abortion is banned or restricted they can still receive care at PPIL through telehealth but will need to pick up their prescription at a health center, visit a participating pharmacy in Illinois or have their medication mailed to an Illinois address. What appears like a small regulatory change actually has a big health equity impact; treating abortion medications like any other prescription and allowing more people to get the care they need in the way that works best for them.

Jennifer Welch