Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Post-Roe America Comes to UIC

UIC’s Reproductive Justice Coalition, with significant SPH support, is caring for people nationwide seeking reproductive health services

A giveaway bag with support items for people seeking abortion care.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court ruling Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Following the Dobbs ruling, faculty, students and staff at UIC and UI Health quickly came together to form the Reproductive Justice Coalition, including representatives from the School of Public Health and numerous other academic programs and centers across the university. The Reproductive Justice Coalition aims to coordinate efforts to support abortion access and education at UI Health and UIC.

After meeting for several months and leading activities across campus, the Coalition launched a fundraiser in the winter of 2022-23 in support of those seeking abortion services in Illinois. Led by SPH maternal and child health faculty, the Coalition aimed to raise $35,000 to enable abortion providers in the Illinois Medical District to provide supportive resources to individuals and families traveling to receive reproductive health services. By mid-
December, the Coalition’s fundraiser goal was quickly met and exceeded.

This success was highlighted by a generous grant from the Irving Harris Foundation, which supports the health and well-being of pregnant and birthing people, very young children, families and communities, and centers intersectional racial equity. The Foundation is a longtime supporter of SPH’s Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, members of the Reproductive Justice Coalition matched initial donations. With excess funds available, the Coalition created care kits with items recommended by UI Health abortion providers for patients  traveling from out-of-state for abortion services.

One maternal and child health student at SPH contributed to the Coalition’s efforts by assembling donation bags for those seeking abortion services in Illinois. These care kits were thoughtfully designed to provide comfort and essential items to those seeking abortion services. For those traveling to Illinois with children, a children’s care kit was also available which included a sticker pack, a coloring book with crayons and a stuffed animal.

“I’m proud to have contributed to the creation of something that will serve as a source of comfort and support to those in need of abortion services,” the student said. “The Coalition’s fundraising efforts have undoubtedly made a positive impact on the lives of many individuals, and I am grateful to have been a part of it.”

Since Dobbs, reproductive health physicians at UI Health have cared for patients from around the nation. These doctors characterize their work as rewarding but taxing.

“The biggest change I have experienced as an abortion provider is the moral distress I feel on a daily
basis,” one physician said. “By the time patients are able to arrange for care in Illinois, they are often much farther along and have worsening health conditions, and we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

The Coalition’s support has put patients at ease and removes some of the fear, shame and stigma
that comes with abortion care.

“This gift has given peace of mind and security for some of the sickest and most vulnerable patients, all of whom have been forced to travel alone to an unfamiliar city with little or no support,” the physician said. “Patients say they have never felt so well cared for during a medical procedure.”

The Reproductive Justice Coalition is demonstrating its value to the UIC community and to people seeking abortion care in the Illinois Medical District from across the country. Moving forward, the Coalition will continue working in a variety of ways, through advocacy, education and training to be a driving force of change with respect to reproductive justice within UIC and beyond.