If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s important that you’re informed and educated on all your options. For example, if you’re considering abortion, it’s also critical that you’re knowledgeable of the local and state laws, what is needed before you can receive an abortion, and how the procedures may affect your health.

Listed below are the abortion laws in Illinois, what you need to do to confirm a pregnancy, the different types of abortions and how they work, and when you should consult a trusted adult.

Illinois State Abortion Law Information

Listed below are facts to keep in mind about the Illinois State Abortion Law as of April 2017.

  • In Illinois, abortions are illegal once a fetus could successfully live outside the womb. This usually occurs around the 23rd or 24th week in pregnancy. The only exception to this is the event that a woman will experience health and life risks by carrying the pregnancy to term.
  • Because of this, certain surgical abortions are illegal because of the potential viability of the fetus.
  • 48 hours before the procedure, unmarried women under 18 must notify an adult family member, but consent or permission is not required to proceed. The exception to this is if the procedure is due to a medical emergency or a judicial notice.
  • Health care professionals and organizations can legally refuse abortions.
  • An illegal abortion would be the “use of any instrument, drug, or any other device to terminate pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant” with intentions to remove a deceased fetus or decrease the probability of a live birth. Never attempt an at-home abortion.

What You Need To Do Before You Get An Abortion

No matter what abortion procedure you consider, your first step is to confirm your pregnancy. If you have not yet received an ultrasound, it will be required before going forward with the procedure, to indicate how far along you are and what abortion procedure you would need. It is also crucial to be tested and treated for STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) before having an invasive procedure; STDs can be transferred through your cervix (which opens with any abortion) into your uterus. If this happens, it could cause PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which is painful and could possibly cause infertility. For free and confidential pregnancy testing, ultrasound and STD testing and treatment, contact First Step, a trusted pregnancy medical center.

Types of Abortions

While there are many different abortion procedures, they all fall under one of two types of abortions: medical or surgical. The stage in pregnancy determines what type of abortion is required. Usually, medical abortions are only available in the early stages of pregnancy, up to 10 weeks. After that, only surgical abortions will be effective.

A medical abortion is the process of orally taking or being injected with medicine to terminate the pregnancy. The embryo/fetus is expelled from the uterus, causing severe cramping and bleeding, usually within three days of the procedure. Medical abortions can be ineffective, requiring a surgical procedure to complete the abortion.

Surgical abortions may be performed during the first or second trimesters. However,  because of Illinois State Laws, some abortion procedures may not be allowed unless the woman’s health or life is at risk. A medical professional must perform surgical abortions and require dilation of the uterus and either vacuum suction or scraping out the fetus.


When A Teen Should Consult A Trusted Adult

While it is not legally required for a minor to get adult permission to receive an abortion, you may wish to confide in a trusted adult. They can provide emotional support and be a source of guidance and information if you need it. If you are uncomfortable confiding in a family member, First Step offers an options consultation, where a friendly and professional staff member will supply you with information and answer any questions you may have, in a safe, confidential environment. In addition, First Step can provide you with information on community resources to guide you in reaching your personal or professional goals.

If you are or think you may be pregnant, First Step is here for you. While we provide free and confidential pregnancy testing and ultrasound, our professional staff also offers an options consultation if you are unsure of what to do next. Contact First Step to learn more about our services and to schedule an appointment.