by Steven Ertelt
April 26, 2007
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — Illinois lawmakers are continuing their efforts to promote a bill that would weaken the state’s parental notification law on abortions. On Wednesday, an Illinois House committee approved the legislation, which will allow teenagers who don’t want to tell their parents about an abortion to get counseling instead.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey, a Chicago Democrat, was originally much worse because it allowed members of the clergy or an older sibling to get the notification instead.
But Fritchey removed those parts from the bill as the request of its opponents, who said that anyone can purchase religious documentation online and that some siblings have little or no relationships with the girl seeking the abortion.
Telling the committee about the new counseling section, he said "I am more much more comfortable with a girl getting specified counseling in a medical professional’s office than standing before a judge with a crowded docket."
The provision requires that abortion alternatives be discussed and that the person doing the counseling — a licensed advanced practice, nurse, physician, clinical psychologist or clinical social worker — can have no ties to the abortion facility.
Yet pro-life advocates don’t like it because the counseling could essentially consist of a sales pitch from someone who favors abortion. It can include school nurses and counselors or nurses or counselors at abortion referral agencies.
Zach Wichmann of the Catholic Conference of Illinois said in an action alert to pro-life advocates that Fritchey counseling amendment is a ploy to get more votes for the bill.
"House Bill 317 simply dispenses with the requirement under current law that a parent or legal guardian be notified of his or her daughter’s intention to obtain an abortion," Wichmann wrote in an analysis of the bill.
"In fact, this legislation seeks to create the appearance of a parental notice law without involving parents or requiring any notice," he added.
In addition to the counseling waiver letting the teen have an abortion without her parents knowing, unlike the 48 hour notice required under current statute, a minor can receive an abortion after meeting with a counselor as soon as the meeting ends.
"A parent or legal guardian’s judgment and role cannot be substituted, and we should not look for political means to obviate or undermine a parent’s role in their children’s lives," Wichmann concluded.
"Under this bill parents would not know their child is to undergo a serious medical procedure that can have serious and long-lasting medical, emotional, and psychological consequences," he said.
ACTION: Contact your legislators and let them know what you think of the bill. You can find the name and contact information of your state senator and representative on the web site of the Illinois General Assembly – https://www.ilga.gov
Related web sites:
Catholic Conference of Illinois – https://catholicconferenceofillinois.org