CHICAGO (CBS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker joined state leaders and healthcare workers on Monday to announce a statewide expansion to reproduction health services.
Pritzker said he hopes to lower barriers of access to reproductive care for families, and he'll do that by reducing the costs for patients.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Illinois Department of Public Health are partnering with University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush University System for Health, and the Chicago Abortion Fund to create a specially trained hotline staffed by nurses to help patients schedule hospital appointments; acquire necessary testing; and arrange payment, transportation, and childcare for reproductive health treatments.
The system, dubbed Complex Abortion Regional Line for Access (CARLA) will launch next month, and is designed to provide prompt treatment of patients seeking abortions when they need a higher level of care than clinics can provide.
Meantime, IDPH also received $10 million in this year's state budget to fund a Reporoductive Health Public Navigation Hotline to help patients in finding and navigating care, including for patients coming from out of state.
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, who was also on hand, said Illinois will continue as a leader in the that fight for patients seeking abortions and other reproductive care.
"We see in states throughout this nation to give the government control over women's bodies, rather than the ability to decide for ourselves what is best for our bodies, our lives, and our futures," Stratton said.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, Pritzker promised to expand reproductive health for women in Illinois.
Other initiatives Pritzker announced on Monday include:
- Creating a family planning program for Medicaid patients, raising the income eligibility threshold for services such as annual preventive exams, family planning counseling, FDA-approved contraceptives, birth control methods, and infertility counseling.
- Establishing the first Illinois Reproductive Health Facilities Capital Grant Program to provide $5 million in funding to support reproductive health care facilities as Illinois sees an increased demand in services since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
- Authorizing reimbursement of reproductive health costs for approximately 1,600 state employees or dependents who live out of state, to cover transportation and lodging costs for state workers who must cross state lines to access safe reproductive healthcare.
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