Illinois Supreme Court May Finally Enforce Parental Notification on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Supreme Court May Finally Enforce Parental Notification on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 19
, 2006

Springfield, IL ( — The Illinois Supreme Court may finally craft rules to enforce 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.

On Monday, the state high court released a one-sentence statement saying it would resurrect the parental notification law and it appears it will write the necessary rules for teens to finally be protected in the state.

Court spokesman Joseph Tybor told the Associated Press there has been no date set for when that process may be completed.

Paul Linton, one of the pro-life attorneys that wrote the court last week oin behalf of several pro-life groups, indicated the Illinois Supreme Court said it is writing the new rules "on its own initiative."

Linton said he found that claim "amusing because they’ve done nothing about for eleven years and issued this order barely two months after Joe Birkett filed (at our urging) a petition to do this, and only one week after the justices got my supplemental petition."

However, Tybor told AP that Chief Justice Robert Thomas has had the issue in mind for awhile and wasn’t responding to lobbying from pro-life groups.

"(Thomas) had intended for some time to put it on the September agenda," Tybor said.

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

Following Birkett’s petition, Linton and pro-life attorney Tom Brejcha filed a supplemental petition on behalf of several pro-life groups.

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.

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.

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.

Lorie Chaiten, director of the Reproductive Rights Project for ACLU of Illinois, told AP her group opposed making sure parents know about their minor teenager daughter’s abortions.

"This is bad policy," she claimed.

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 that filed the supplemental petition included 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.