Illinois’ Abortion Reality: Serving as a National Access Point and Model for Patient-Centered Care - City Club of Chicago

Illinois’ Abortion Reality: Serving as a National Access Point and Model for Patient-Centered Care

moderated by State Senator Lakesia Collins
Panelists: Sarah Garza Resnick (Personal PAC), Megan Jeyifo (Chicago Abortion Fund), Chelsea Souder (Hope Clinic), Dr. Jonah Fleisher (UIHealth)

Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

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State Senator Lakesia Collins

Lakesia Collins is a State Elected Official hailing from Chicago, with a dedication to public service and advocacy. As a devoted mother of three and a former nursing home worker, she brings a wealth of experience to her role. Notably, Lakesia served as a spokesperson for the "Fight for 15" campaign for Healthcare Workers, demonstrating her commitment to fair labor practices.

Currently representing the 5th Senate District after previously serving as the representative for the 9th House District, Lakesia has been instrumental in passing significant legislation to address various societal needs. As a freshman legislator, she successfully championed bills aimed at restoring childcare services, providing free dental care for low-income families and veterans, safeguarding reproductive rights, and reforming the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

In her capacity as a legislator, Lakesia remains actively engaged in the legislative process, serving on multiple committees such as Early Childhood Education, Financial Institutions, Human Rights, Public Health, and Revenue. Additionally, she holds the position of Vice-Chair for Child Care Access and Early Childhood, highlighting her dedication to early childhood development and accessibility.

Driven by a vision of development without displacement, Lakesia remains steadfast in her pursuit of creating more opportunities for families and individuals across the 5th Senate District. 

Dr. Jonah Fleisher

Jonah Fleisher is the medical director for the Center for Reproductive Health at UI Health. In this role, he provides comprehensive reproductive healthcare including abortion to people from Illinois and across the country. Dr. Fleisher is the Co-Director of the CARLA program, a statewide navigation center that helps patients with complex medical needs access hospital-based abortion care. He received his medical degree from Northwestern University, completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University, and his fellowship in Complex Family Planning at New York University and Bellevue Hospital. He completed a Masters in Public Health from New York University.

Sarah Garza Resnick

Sarah Garza Resnick (she/her) is the President and CEO of Personal PAC. Prior to this role she was the Chief Deputy Assessor for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, the Chief of Staff to Cook County Clerk David Orr, and a Cook County Public Defender. Sarah Garza Resnick graduated from Cardozo School of Law, where she worked at the Innocence Project. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from Brandeis University and her master’s degree in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics. She is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2023), an Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Fellow (2018), and serves on the board of Mishkan.

Megan Jeyifo

Megan Jeyifo (she/her) is a mama who has had abortions and the Executive Director of the Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF). She is an expert in navigating onerous restrictions and barriers to abortion care across the country– informed by conversations with thousands of CAF callers and her own experiences obtaining care– and supports people with tenacity and softness. Under her leadership, CAF has experienced exponential growth in size, staffing, budget, scope and impact. This growth has enabled the fund to support every single person they reach on their hotline; no one has been turned away for assistance in close to five years despite exponential increases in case volume, complexity, and cost as thousands of people across the South and Midwest are forced to travel for abortion care. Megan was named a 2022 Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine and is a 2023 mayoral appointee to the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council for Women.

Chelsea Souder

Chelsea Souder, MPH (she/her) is motivated to help create a world where all people can plan their families as they see fit, and to parent the children they do have in safe and healthy environments. Chelsea is the Co-owner of Hope Clinic in Granite City, IL and currently working to open a second location specializing in abortion care later in pregnancy in Chicago, IL. She has a Master’s in Public Health, specializing in Maternal and Child Health, with professional and academic experience in delivery of reproductive healthcare and advocating for survivors of violence. Chelsea has sat on boards for abortion and LGBTQ+ healthcare and she has contributed to multiple publications on abortion access and delivery of care. She is currently a member of the Abortion Care Network’s Racial Justice and Equity committee as well as the Women’s Fund of Omaha Circles Leadership Class 12. She is the Founder and Director of Nebraska Abortion Resources (NEAR), Nebraska’s only state wide abortion fund. She has four wild children who keep her busy and tired. 

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