Illinois Parental Notification Law Delayed Again, Pro-Life Attorneys Respond
by Steven Ertelt
May 28, 2010
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — The Illinois law allowing parents to know when their minor daughter is considering an abortion has been on hold since 1995 and the delay in implementing it continues much to the chagrin of the pro-life attorneys at the Thomas More Society.
Today, they filed an appeal in an effort to vacate the stay Judge Daniel Riley imposed on the implementation of the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
They are there is no legal basis to further delay the law.
"The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act has held up numerous times against attacks by the ACLU and other opponents, and we believe there is no legal reason to prevent implementation of this long-overdue and much- needed law in Illinois," said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society executive director and legal counsel.
He told LifeNews.com today, "It is time to enforce this law and put an end to secret abortions in Illinois."
Earlier this spring, Judge Riley dismissed a lawsuit brought by the ACLU that challenged the constitutionality of the parental notification law and imposed a stay of his decision until the ACLU’s appeal of that decision is complete — a process that could take years.
The Thomas More Society has argued that the continuation of the temporary restraining order via Judge Riley’s indefinite stay violates Illinois law and contradicts the will of the people, particularly after the law had been found constitutional and valid.
The law is meant to allow parents to know 48 hours in advance when their minor daughter is considering an abortion so they can help her find positive alternatives.
Thomas Brejcha, the Thomas More Society president, has been leading the fight to save the law — which has been proven in other states to reduce the number of abortions done on minor teens.
"Because the ACLU has already lost in federal court, its lawyers must prove in state court that the Illinois Constitution of 1970 guaranteed a right to abortion that was even stronger than the federal abortion right upheld in Roe v. Wade, handed down in 1973," he told LifeNews.com before the decision.
He told LifeNews.com, "Illinois parents have a right to know before their kids are taken for abortions."
In Hope Clinic, et al., v. Brent Adams et al., Thomas More Society attorneys are representing Illinois State’s Attorneys Stu Umholtz, Ed Deters, and Ray Cavanaugh.
They maintain that because there is no right to abortion in the Illinois Constitution, the ACLU’s latest challenge to parental notice is baseless.
The Attorney General, representing various Illinois officials who are named as defendants, has moved to dismiss the case on other grounds.
Parents in Illinois have waited since 1995 for a law to go into effect and a vote from the Illinois’ Medical Disciplinary Board made it appear that would happen. After the legislature approved the law, it was held up in court waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to issue the rules guiding the law’s implementation.
After the court did its job, state officials blocked enforcement of the law with a 90-day grace period for abortion centers to became aware of it — even though similar laws have been on the books in other states for decades.
The board met in Chicago and decided not to extend the grace period further that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation put in place.
However, Riley ruled in favor of the ACLU , which convinced him to issue an injunction with its claims that it violates the state constitution — even though abortion was not legal when the constitution was put in place.
If it ever goes into effect, Illinois will join 35 other states with similar laws with a statute that requires that abortion practitioners inform the parents of a teenager seeking an abortion.
The lawsuit, on behalf of Illinois abortion centers, says "most young women who seek abortions already involve their parents," which makes pro-life advocates in the state wonder why the ACLU would sue to overturn the parental involvement law.
The lawsuit cites emergency situations and gives examples of "teens whose
parents beat them, threw them out of the house, and/or forced them to become a parent against their will when they found out about the pregnancy."
However, the law already provides for a judicial bypass procedure whereby teenagers who face domestic violence concerns don’t have to involve their parents in the abortion decision.
The ACLU should know because it is already exploiting that aspect of the law.
Anna Clark at RH Reality Check, a pro-abortion blog, wrote recently that she is excited about how the Illinois ACLU is exploiting that loophole in the law to get abortions for any teenager who doesn’t want to tell her parents.
Leah Bartelt, the pro-abortion staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois, is among those who have teamed together to form The Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project as a response to the states new parental involvement law.
Clark admits the ACLU will exploit the abuse provision.
"It is designed to not only protect the right of the judicial bypass, but to make it accessible to young women who might otherwise be daunted by dodging through the legal process on their own," she said.
In its legal papers, the Illinois ACLU claims "Illinois courts are not prepared to handle these cases," which makes it appear it will push so many teenagers into secret abortions that the court system will be overwhelmed.
A Texas version of the hotline found 469 minors from around the country called to get secret abortions with its help.
The Hope Clinic for Women abortion center and Dr. Allison Cowett, the Director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Reproductive Health are the plaintiffs named in the ACLU lawsuit. No teenagers or their parents are parties in the suit claiming to represent their interests.
Related web sites:
Thomas More Society – http://www.thomasmoresociety.org
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