Illinois Pro-Life Groups Want Court to Enforce Abortion Law Helping Teens

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Pro-Life Groups Want Court to Enforce Abortion Law Helping Teens Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 13
, 2006

Springfield, IL ( — A debate in Illinois confronts an age-old problem high school students learn about in civics class. When a law is passed, the judicial branch is supposed to interpret it — but that’s not happening with a measure designed to help parents help their teenager daughters avoid abortions.

In 1995, the Illinois legislature passed a law that a parent or guardian should be notified 48 hours in advance of an abortion on a minor teen.

But the Illinois Supreme Court has refused to write rules that the law requires for an appeals process and, as a result, the law can’t go into effect. The high court is the only state court in the country not to write the companion rules.

As a result, Illinois has become a haven for abortions on teenagers in other states and was one of the reasons Congressional lawmakers put forward a bill that would stop adults from taking teenagers out of state for secret abortions.

Pro-life advocates want to get the law on the books and several groups, are submitting a petition to the court to get it to write the rules.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett filed a petition last June to Chief Justice Robert Thomas and his colleagues asking for the court to issue the rules.

Now, pro-life attorneys Tom Brejcha and Paul Linton, for the organizations, have issued a supplemental petition.

Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel with the Thomas More Society, said in a statement obtained by, “Illinois’ governor wants every child to have health care. Yet, the health and emotional well-being of thousands of girls are compromised if parents are not notified when their daughters consider an abortion."

“Incredibly, we live in a state where parental consent is required before aspirins are dispensed, but parents are left in the dark when their child undergoes serious surgery," he added.

Karen Hayes, state director of CWA of Illinois, agreed.

“It is unconscionable that a decade has passed since our Parental Notification Act was duly passed and signed into law, yet it remains unenforceable because our state’s highest court has not written the necessary rules," she told in a statement.

From 1995-2004 almost 40,000 abortions were performed on Illinois minors and thousands more abortions were performed in Illinois on non-resident minors who were allowed to avoid their home state parental involvement laws.

The Supreme Court unanimously upheld states’ rights to require parental involvement earlier this year when it held hearings on a New Hampshire law.

“States unquestionably have the right to require parental involvement when a minor considers terminating her pregnancy," Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote.

The pro-life groups include Illinois Citizens for Life, Illinois Federation for Right to Life, the Illinois Right to Life Committee, the Illinois Family Institute, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum of Illinois, Orthodox Christians for Life-Chicago, Lutherans for Life, Concerned Christian Americans, and the Catholic Conference of Illinois.