Amid growing 'abortion deserts,' a haven in small-town Illinois takes shape

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CARBONDALE, Illinois — In a former dermatologist’s office in this small Southern Illinois town, the first health care facility to offer abortions in decades opened quietly on Tuesday – accompanied by a small handful of opponents holding protest signs outside.

The CHOICES Center for Reproductive Health is one of at least two abortion clinics moving into 21,700-resident Carbondale, a Midwest college town thrust into the spotlight amid expectations it will serve as a key oasis of access for what abortion rights advocates say are the growing U.S. “abortion deserts” clustered in the Midwest and South.

Carbondale will be home to Illinois’ southernmost clinics. Already, a Planned Parenthood clinic 80 miles to the northwest is seeing skyrocketing demand amid state bans following the Supreme Court’s reversal of the federal right to abortion.

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