DANVILLE – Abortion rights opponents are pushing back against a proposed clinic in the Vermilion County city.
It’s been decades since Danville had an abortion provider, Deb Brinegar, a Danville resident, said. She argues that should not changed.
“Abortion disappeared from our community about 30 years ago,” Brinegar said. “So this is really heartbreaking that it’s coming back.”
Abortion is legal in Illinois. The state has become a safe haven for abortion providers and seekers throughout the Midwest. But, state representatives in the Illinois Freedom Caucus rallied in Danville on Monday against plans to open an abortion clinic in the city.
Abortion rights opponents said the clinic’s location in an Illinois city bordering Indiana could be used to provide abortions to people in both states.
“She’s interested in drawing women from Indiana,” Mary Kate Zander, the executive director of Illinois Right to Life, said of the abortion provider planning to open in Danville. “She is disinterested in serving the people of this area.”
Speakers at the rally claim the abortion provider is from a women’s clinic in Indiana. Illinois Public Media is not naming the provider until it can be independently verified. Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. did not confirm the name released at the rally. But during a recent city council meeting, Williams said the group that purchased the building does perform abortions.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022, abortions rose by almost 30% in Illinois. Indiana banned abortion in September of 2022, but the Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments in January of 2023 over a lawsuit alleging the ban violates the state constitution.
“Planned Parenthood of Illinois supports expanding equitable access to abortion care to all those who need it in our safe haven state,” Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Jennifer Welch wrote in a statement.
“Receiving reproductive healthcare is a human right,” Welch wrote, “and in a post-Roe age, we need as many providers as possible to ensure both Illinois residents and those traveling from other states, get the critical care they need and deserve.”
Speakers at the rally said they are planning to join dozens of cities throughout the country that have passed ordinances outlawing abortion.
An abortion provider in Indianapolis chose Danville without thinking about the community and its desires, Zander said.
“This community will be changed by the presence of this clinic,” Zander said.
Farrah Anderson is a journalist and student at the University of Illinois. Follow her on Twitter @farrahsoa.