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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Illinois imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Illinois places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.

Illinois designates "any facility in which a medical or surgical procedure is utilized to terminate a pregnancy,"  regardless of the number of procedures performed and whether the facility is devoted primarily to this purpose, as a "pregnancy termination specialty center"-a type of ambulatory surgical treatment center.  Other non-abortion-related facilities are required to become licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers only if they are "devoted primarily" to the provision of surgery.  210 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/3(A) (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 1994).

A "pregnancy termination specialty center" is limited to providing abortion services up to 18 weeks, and must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme that includes a variety of administrative, physical-plant, record-keeping, personnel, and patient-care requirements.  However, when Illinois' regulations required this classification for facilities that provided even one abortion, a federal court held the regulations unenforceable. Ragsdale v. Turnock, 625 F. Supp 1212 (N.D. Ill. 1985).  

After a court held that the regulatory scheme "infring[ed] on the constitutional right of women to have an abortion," the parties settled the case with an agreement that enjoined enforcement of the more onerous provisions but permitted the state to continue to regulate outpatient abortion clinics in ways that are not medically justified.

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Illinois prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only physicians licensed to practice medicine may provide abortion care.  720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 510/3.1 (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1989), 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 510/2(2) (Enacted 1975; Last Amended 1988).  The Illinois attorney general has issued an opinion concluding that physician assistants and advanced practice nurses may, in accordance with the statutory requirements and conditions governing their practices, provide mifepristone under the supervision of a qualified physician.  Ill. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 09-002 (March 5, 2009).  

A court upheld Illinois' physician-only requirement as applied to a chiropractor.  People v. White, 387 N.E.2d 728 (Ill. App. Ct. 1978), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1090 (1980).

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