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CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced it has awarded $2 million to three different organizations to provide training that will increase access to safe, high-quality abortions across the state. The Abortion Provider Capacity Building Grant Program awarded grants to the Midwest Access Project (MAP), Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL), and the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing.“When I said Illinois would be an oasis for women seeking reproductive care, I meant it,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

The first-of-its-kind in Illinois, state-funded training effort follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that eliminated the constitutional right to abortion in the United States and allowed states to restrict access to abortion. While Illinois guarantees the right to an abortion under state law, many surrounding states have imposed restrictions on access to abortion. Although the number of abortions provided for Illinois women declined slightly in 2022, the number provided in Illinois for out-of-state residents increased 49%, according to IDPH data.

“When I said Illinois would be an oasis for women seeking reproductive care, I meant it,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to the Abortion Provider Capacity Building Grant Program, we will offer health care providers—who are meeting the moment with compassion and service—access to the training and mentorship they need to deliver the care women deserve.”

"Illinois is continuing our track record of protecting and expanding access to reproductive care, not just for patients but for the providers administering that care," said Lt. Governor Stratton. "In Illinois, we trust women and the healthcare professionals protecting their freedoms."

“IDPH is proud to partner with these three outstanding organizations to support training that will improve access and quality to a full range of reproductive healthcare services, including safe abortions,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “Illinois has seen a sharp increase in demand for abortion services in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. Under Governor JB Pritzker’s leadership, the State of Illinois is committed to providing resources to improve training and mentorship so our health care providers can deliver Illinoisians and those who come to our state with a full range of reproductive health services.”

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The grants were awarded by IDPH’s Office of Women’s Health & Family Services. Following are details from the proposals submitted by the three grant recipients:

  • Midwest Access Project: MAP will expand their long-standing work providing sexual and reproductive healthcare clinicians with training in procedural and medication abortion. Their innovative training model fills gaps nationwide in medical education, advanced practice nursing, midwifery education, and clinical training.
  • Planned Parenthood of Illinois: PPIL plans to expand upon an already robust training effort by offering more procedural abortion training for physician trainees and advance practice nurses, and medication abortion training for eligible providers.
  • UIC – College of Nursing: UIC will establish a training program to expose new advanced practice nurses to abortion care through the Reproductive Advocacy and Diversity in Advanced Nursing Training (RADIANT) Fellowship.

"MAP is thrilled at the opportunity afforded by the IDPH Abortion Provider Training Grant to expand our initiatives to fill gaps in comprehensive reproductive health care training,” said Melissa Banerjee, Deputy Director of MAP. “This funding will enable us to provide individualized, hands-on clinical training, interdisciplinary education, and implementation support to passionate clinicians who otherwise lack access to training to provide abortion care as a part of their community practices. With this support, MAP will build on the partnerships we've developed over 17 years of operation with clinical sites, clinicians and advocates to expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care for Illinois' diverse communities, and all those seeking care in Illinois."

“Planned Parenthood of Illinois is proud of its abortion provider training program and the work we are doing to prepare the next generation of medical providers,” said PPIL President and CEO Jennifer Welch. “Whether we are training students or established providers, our goal is to increase the number of providers in Illinois who are able to provide trauma-informed, gender affirming, and language inclusive abortion care. Training more providers allows PPIL to expand overall abortion service availability in Illinois, benefitting populations historically denied access to high quality, affordable health care. We are thrilled to receive this IDPH grant because as a

haven state, it is crucial we have practitioners ready to provide the safe and high-quality abortion care our patients need and deserve.”

“The UIC College of Nursing will establish the RADIANT Fellowship to train and mentor nurse practitioners from across the state to offer trauma-informed and gender affirming abortion services in their practices,” said Kylea Laina Liese, an Assistant Professor in the UIC Department of Human Development Nursing Science. “RADIANT Fellows will also serve as preceptors to advance practice nursing students from UIC, who will receive the classroom training needed to expand and protect access to essential reproductive healthcare.”

Governor Pritzker announced last year that the state of Illinois was taking a number of steps to improve access to abortion and other reproductive care in Illinois. This included the creation of the CARLA (Complex Abortion Regional Line for Access) hotline, a partnership involving state agencies, hospitals, and the Chicago Abortion Fund. The hotline is designed to help patients with complex medical needs who need hospital-based services to navigate the universe of abortion providers and receive the appropriate level of care.

IDPH is also working to launch a Reproductive Health Public Navigation Hotline that will aid patients, regardless of complexity, including those travelling from out of state, in finding and navigating care. The Public Navigation Hotline will route medically complex patients into the CARLA system and lower risk patients into the non-hospital network of care.

The IDPH effort aligns with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ support for the expansion of abortion education and an increase in the number and types of trained abortion providers to ensure access to safe abortions.

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