Illinois Supreme Court Issues Rules for Parental Notification on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 25, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Supreme Court Issues Rules for Parental Notification on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 25
, 2006

Springfield, IL ( — It only took eleven years, but the Illinois Supreme Court, last Wednesday, finally issued the rules necessary for enforcement of a measure the state legislature approved in 1995 designed to help parents help their teenager daughters avoid abortions. The law requires parents to be told about a potential abortion 48 hours in advance.

Similar laws in other states have reduced the number of teen abortions.

Despite the legislature approving the parental notification bill, the high court refused to write rules that the law requires for an appeals process and, as a result, the law couldn’t go into effect. The Illinois Supreme Court was the only state court in the country not to write the companion rules.

The court adopted the new rules on a unanimous vote, according to a state Supreme Court spokesperson. The rules indicate a judge hearing a bypass request should attempt to issue a decision at the end of the hearing and rule within 48 hours if a decision could not be made immediately.

If a judge denies a waiver, the decision can be appealed and an appellate court would have to rule within two days and the state Supreme Court would have to rule within five days. No oral argument would be permitted during appeals.

The rules do not say anything about circumstances in which a judge should or should not grant a waiver.

Despite the new rules, Attorney General Lisa Madigan would have to ask a federal court to lift the injunction against the law for it to take effect.

Madigan spokesperson Cara Smith told AP, "We are reviewing the rules and the (1995) law to determine the next step in the litigation."

Pro-abortion Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the rules need to be examined to make sure teens are protected in abuse situations.

"We have every expectation that the attorney general will make sure the rules are written in a way that protects the safety of young victims of rape and incest," Blagojevich spokesperson Abby Ottenhoff said in a statement.

The high court said it chose to write the rules on its own despite legal papers filed last June by DuPage County Attorney Joe Birkett urging it to do so.

Following Birkett’s petition, several pro-life groups filed a supplemental petition.

Pro-abortion lawmakers blasted the decision to write the rules for the law.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, a Democrat, said there was "no reason" for the state Supreme Court to make the announcement shortly before a statewide election and promised abortion advocates would try to turn back the law.

"There will be a concerted effort to stop" the law from being enforced, Feigenholtz told the Chicago Tribune.

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.

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.