$11.2 Million Investment for Illinois Family Planning Services

SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) — The Pritzker administration on Monday afternoon celebrated $11.2 million in grants for family planning services in low-income communities in Illinois. State leaders say this will support access to Title X services that were restricted under the Trump administration.

Title X allows people to receive affordable birth control and reproductive health care services, regardless of income or health insurance. President Joe Biden overturned a federal gag rule that prevented family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.

Illinois received $5.4 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to affordable family planning services for the uninsured. State lawmakers have already earmarked an additional $5.8 million in the fiscal year 2023 budget to support the 29 agencies that run 98 family planning clinics in Illinois.

These providers enable patients to receive HIV testing, treatment for breast and cervical cancer, and reproductive health care. Governor JB Pritzker said the announcement was critical, especially since the U.S. Senate failed to pass a plan to codify Roe v. Wade last week.

“Let this record investment remind women that the State of Illinois trusts you to make your own decisions — to choose the contraceptives that are right for you, to choose whether or not to parent and when,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker pointed out that these clinics provide the basics of health care for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Illinois Family Planning Clinics have helped more than 150,000 patients in recent years.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says people with low incomes and those who may be underinsured should always have access to the high-quality, affordable health care services they need. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arti Barnes said the family planning program provides culturally appropriate and responsive services that are critical to the health and safety of tens of thousands of people across the state. She noted that about 80% of those served were below the federal poverty level.

“IFPP offers a range of contraceptive options with an emphasis on client-centered decision-making that best fits their reproductive life plan,” Barnes said. “The program offers preconception counseling, infertility education, referrals, physical exams, health screenings, blood pressure checks, weight checks, pap smears and, of course, pregnancy tests and options as well as tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections.

Barnes said the Trump administration’s gag rule restricted IDPH and the network of family planning clinics to maintain services to clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted that Illinois was only able to do the job because of the support of Pritzker and members of the General Assembly.

“We understand that the self-determination and bodily autonomy of women and individuals assigned to a woman at birth is a fundamental human right,” said Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago).

Pritzker said he could not guarantee funding for the program would be secure if a Republican became governor or president. Whether Democrats or Republicans, Pritzker argues that leaders should be pro-choice and believe in family planning.

“They must believe in providing health care for women and meeting the needs of women in our state and our country,” Pritzker said.

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton stood with Pritzker and other advocates while wearing a pin that read “keep abortion legal.” Stratton noted that the right to choose is about the freedom to live healthily and well. She also believes that it is about empowerment passed down from generation to generation. Stratton said every generation dreams of a brighter future for the girls to come.

“So what do I say to my daughters who risk losing the rights I had? I tell them we’re not going back,” Stratton said. “We are moving forward, and today we take a major step in that journey by restoring millions of dollars in funding for Title X.”

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