A new billboard along Interstate 55 welcomes drivers from Missouri to Illinois, “where you can get a safe, legal abortion.”
The sign was put by Hope Clinic, an abortion provider in Granite City that often receives patients from across the border, which is just minutes away, local newspaper River Front Times reported.
Half of the clinic’s patients are Missourians who travel because of their home state’s strict regulations on abortion, according to the clinic's media coordinator, Alison Dreith.
Missouri requires clinics to have physicians with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, so there is reportedly only one clinic in the state that still offers the procedure.
Dreith told the River Front Times that Missouri’s mandated 72-hour waiting period between an abortion consultation and the actual procedure is a frustrating and needless regulation.
“It’s not only taxing on your time and your wallet, but also your emotions,” Dreith said.
Dreith told Yahoo Lifestyle that the clinic, just 10 minutes from St. Louis, is essential for residents of less-populated areas.
“People in St. Louis will always know, because they’re in this major metropolitan area, that there’s some kind of option for them,” Dreith said. “But especially as we get into rural parts of southern Illinois or southwest Missouri, for example, you don’t always know that organizations or people like us are fighting for you because you’re so far removed and living your day to day life.”
The clinic was inspired by a similar billboard by progressive advocacy ProgressNow Colorado, which put up a sign near the Colorado-Utah state line.
“There will be an avenue for access to abortion no matter what happens legislatively, and we just need to be more creative of getting our message out there to let our most vulnerable communities know that they still have choices,” Dreith told Yahoo. “If we could do anything to reduce that stigma and to let people know that no matter what happens there’s still folks out there who will love and support you to get compassionate care. We want to be a part of that.”