Aurora Abortion Debate May Include Battle on Parental Consent Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Aurora Abortion Debate May Include Battle on Parental Consent Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 13,

Aurora, IL ( — The abortion debate in Aurora, Illinois has received a national focus in recent weeks with Planned Parenthood building a secret abortion facility. While the community may not have known about the business, one city councilman wants to make sure parents know if their children ever have abortions there.

The state legislature in Illinois approved a parental notification law in the mid 1990s but it has been tied up in court ever since and never been enforced.

However, Aurora is a home-rule city and has the ability to make its own local ordinances, including those that could impact the abortion debate.

With the new Planned Parenthood abortion center, Fourth Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence says he wants to have a parental involvement policy in place so minor children have to obtain the permission of their parents for medical treatment such as abortions.

The law would apply to teenagers under the age of 18, he told the Daily Herald newspaper, and he is still working out the details. Lawrence said it would include an exception for medical emergencies.

According to the paper, Lawrence hopes to introduce the proposal to the city council within the next two weeks.

Lawrence said the debate over the new abortion center prompted him to consider the parental consent proposal though he indicated it’s not specifically to target Planned Parenthood.

"I don’t believe a child at 13, 14 or 16 years old can understand the ramifications of any type of invasive procedure," he said.

He said he was "astounded" that, as a father, he would have no involvement in the medical decisions of his two daughters — especially when it comes to a procedure like an abortion that could cause serious medical or mental health issues.

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, told the Daily Herald his group would oppose such an idea.

"We simply don’t believe that the city of Aurora can do that," he said. "We’re going to be watching this activity very closely over the next few months."