Legal FAQs about Abortion Care in Illinois

Are there bans on abortion in Illinois?

Illinois law prohibits abortions once a fetus is considered viable (which is around 23-24 weeks gestation), except in cases of risks to the life or health of the pregnant person. Federal Abortion Ban (Partial‐Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003) prohibits a certain type of second-trimester abortion procedure (called an “intact dilation & extraction”) with no exception for cases when it would be the best procedure to protect the woman's health. Illinois also has a Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, but it is not enforceable.2

Who can provide abortion care?

Physicians licensed by the state may provide abortion care. In addition, advance practice clinicians (including physician assistants and advanced practice nurses) can dispense and administer medication abortion.3

Are abortion providers regulated?

Illinois has licensing requirements and regulations, such as the Illinois Medical Practice Act and other professional statutes, that apply to a range of health care providers, including those who provide abortion. As in other states, Illinois lawmakers have attempted to create additional regulations that would apply only to providers of abortion. Some of these laws are in effect, but a number of them have been altered by court settlements (consent decrees) or are not enforced.4 Questions about current provider and facility regulations can be directed to the ACLU of Illinois Reproductive Rights Project: 312-201-9740.

In addition, specific information must be reported by physicians to the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding each abortion. This information includes: the county where the abortion was performed, date, procedure type, complications, and information about the patient, age, race/ethnicity, education level, marital status, gestational age of pregnancy, and previous terminations and pregnancies. Examples of these forms can be found here and the reported data can be found here

Can people refuse to provide abortion and related care?  

Health care professionals can refuse to provide care related to abortion, though health providers still have some duties to provide emergency medical care. The Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act states that health professionals and organizations cannot be discriminated against, coerced or punished civilly or criminally if they choose not to offer a health or medical service because of their conscientious convictions.5

Can a pregnant person have an advance directive/living will?

In Illinois, a pregnant person's living will cannot go into effect if the doctor believes there could be a live birth, according to a Statement of Illinois law on advance directives issued by the Illinois Department of Human Services.6