Illinois Nonprofit Offers Free Flights For Abortion Patients
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Illinois Nonprofit Offers Free Flights For Abortion Patients

health care access , Illinois , travel nonprofit
Esthefany Castillo
Esthefany Castillo Jun 24, 2022

Today the Supreme Court conservative majority devastatingly voted to overturn Roe v. Wade — the constitutional law that has protected women’s right to abortions for nearly 50 years. This ruling will disproportionately affect minority women who already face limited access to health care. As a result, women are crossing state and country lines to access reproductive care, as is the case for Illinois.

Illinois Protection of Women's Right

In spite of this Supreme Court’s ruling, Illinois will not end legal abortion. In 2019, the state passed a law to keep abortion legal even if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Illinois governor, JB Pritzer, tweeted today “Let me be clear: even with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion is still safe and legal in Illinois. This is a direct assault on self-determination and the right to privacy. But we cannot allow the radical right to take our power away.”


Elevated Access Responds to Restrictive Abortion Laws

An Illinois nonprofit, Elevated Access, has started providing free flights on small aircraft to transport patients to their abortion appointments. Early in June, the nonprofit flew its first abortion patient from Oklahoma — which issued one of the strongest abortion restrictions — to the Kansas City area. Driving from Oklahoma City to Kansas City takes approximately 10 hours round trip. Whereas, this innovative means of reproductive health care access allowed them to terminate in Kansas and be back home to their child later the same evening.

The executive director of Elevated Access started working on this concept more than a year ago alongside leaders from the Chicago-based organization Midwest Access Coalition. The non-profit not only provides transportation, but also accommodation, food, rides to clinics, and other logistical support as needed to patients traveling for abortion care.

Pilots For Women's Rights

The work of Elevated Access is made possible with the support of pilots who volunteer their skills, time, and planes to fly patients to their abortion appointments. Given the political sensitivity of the subject, the non-profit expresses going over and beyond to ensure pilots are aligned with the organization’s values. On their website, pilots interested in volunteering can learn more about the different types of volunteer opportunities, the requirements, and the application for joining Elevated Access in this initiative.

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