Legislation introduced to end Parental Notice of Abortion Act

Legislation introduced to end Parental Notice of Abortion Act

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Parental Notice of Abortion Act in Illinois faces another challenge.

The ACLU and Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would eliminate the 2013 law. It requires a doctor providing care to a young person under the age of 18 seeking an abortion to notify a designated parent, legal guardian or grandparent at least 48 hours beforehand.

If there is a reason that the minor is not able to have one of these family members notified, she can go to court for a “judicial bypass” and ask a judge for permission to have the procedure without forced family involvement.

Brigid Leahy, senior director of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, said there are circumstances when a minor does not want or can’t get a parent or guardian involved.

“Those young people are forced into court and that’s not the place they need to be,” Leahy said. “They need to be with a healthcare provider for support.”

During a news conference Monday, attorney Mary FioRito, who represents Parents for the Protection of Girls, said eliminating the law would be a blow to Illinois parents.

“To undo a parent’s right to know about an irreversible surgery being performed on their child completely undermines the rights and responsibilities that parents have to their children,” FioRito said.

The ACLU teamed up with Human Rights Watch to issue the report, “The Only People It Really Affects Are the People It Hurts: The Human Rights Impacts of Parental Notice of Abortion in Illinois.” The groups found that young people often seek judicial bypass because they fear physical or emotional abuse, alienation from their families, or being forced to continue a pregnancy against their will.

Leahy said a law to mandate family communication is unnecessary.

“It’s our experience that the patients who come into Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Illinois have been talking to their parents and involving their parents before the law went into effect and after the law went into effect,” Leahy said.

The Rev. Jon Jones from the Christ Life Center in Tinley Park said there are laws on the books protecting minors in other aspects of life.

“When our state laws ensure that children can’t make their own decisions for accessing tanning beds, tattoos, tobacco, it seems unfathomable that the law would allow a minor to make a decision to access an abortion without any adult guidance,” Jones said.

Illinois State Sen. Elgie Sims Jr. and state Rep. Anna Moeller introduced the measures in both General Assembly chambers aimed at repealing the law. It is expected to be debated in May 2021.

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