(The Center Square) – Chicago city officials announced more taxpayer resources for reproductive health care, including access to abortion for residents of the city and of neighboring states.
The announced $500,000 from Chicago taxpayers will go to providers and organizations that provide access and resources for abortion care. The city’s program will be through the Chicago Department of Public Health, according to the Department’s commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady.
“The Chicago Department of Public Health is proud to be newly investing $500,000 as a part of our maternal and reproductive health portfolio to help support patients who need access to reproductive health care, including abortions,” Arwady said.
The announcement comes a week after a leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion suggests the justices could return the issue of abortion back to each individual state.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said even with the newly announced funds, she and her team will continue to work to provide better access to reproductive health care services for Chicagoans and residents of neighboring states.
“This is all we have right now in our budget, but to be sure, I will be working with my colleagues and city council and Dr. Arwady, and of course working with a range of providers around the city, to understand what additional needs they have,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot’s program is specific to Chicago spending, but some state lawmakers are hoping to also provide services to those who come to Illinois hoping to terminate a pregnancy.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, last week said that Illinois has already made abortion more accessible with things like ending a parental notification requirement but said more can be done.
“We can ensure that there are resources available for patients who maybe used their last penny to get here from Texas,” Cassidy said during a news conference. “Can we make coverage available?”
After the Lightfoot’s news conference Monday, Amy Gehrke, executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Foundation, released a statement condemning the mayor’s comments.
“At a time when violence in the city of Chicago is spiraling out of control, it is mind-boggling that Mayor Lightfoot is putting more taxpayer money towards the violence of abortion,” Gehrke said. “Every abortion brutally takes the life of a preborn child and, thanks to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, it is incredibly dangerous for women in the state of Illinois.”
Gehrke also raised concern over the practice she said will put women in neighboring states at risk at taxpayer expense.
A final Supreme Court decision is expected to be handed down sometime this summer.