Illinois Supreme Court Won’t Hear Latest Case for Parental Notification on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 1, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Supreme Court Won’t Hear Latest Case for Parental Notification on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 1
, 2010

Springfield, IL ( — The parental notification law the Illinois state legislature approved in 1995 is still in legal limbo after a divided Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear the legal case pending against the measure. The Thomas More Society had submitted a motion to transfer, hoping the long-delayed, never-enforced law would finally be implemented.

Yesterday, the state’s high court denied the request to transfer the legal case from the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court.

Justices Robert R. Thomas and Thomas L. Kilbride dissented from the order denying the transfer.

“We’re obviously disappointed with this ruling, but we remain committed to doing everything we possibly can to bring these appeals to a speedy and positive conclusion,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society.

He explained: “The latest constitutional attack on this law by the American Civil Liberties Union was deemed legally meritless and tossed out of court by both a federal appeals court and a Cook County trial court, and yet the Attorney General agreed – inexplicably and without any legal basis – that the enforcement of parental notice should still be stayed, that is, suspended pending the outcome of the ACLU’s appeal.”

With the transfer motion denied, the proceedings will continue in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, where Thomas More Society attorneys are due to file their opening appeal brief on Friday.

Earlier this spring, Judge Daniel Riley dismissed a lawsuit brought by the ACLU that challenged the constitutionality of the parental notification law and imposed a stay of his decision until the ACLU’s appeal of that decision is complete — a process that could take years.

The Thomas More Society has argued that the continuation of the temporary restraining order via Judge Riley’s indefinite stay violates Illinois law and contradicts the will of the people, particularly after the law had been found constitutional and valid.

The law is meant to allow parents to know 48 hours in advance when their minor daughter is considering an abortion so they can help her find positive alternatives Similar laws have been proven in other states to reduce the number of abortions done on minor teens.

In Hope Clinic, et al., v. Brent Adams et al., Thomas More Society attorneys are representing Illinois State’s Attorneys Stu Umholtz, Ed Deters, and Ray Cavanaugh.

They maintain that because there is no right to abortion in the Illinois Constitution, the ACLU’s latest challenge to parental notice is baseless.

The Attorney General, representing various Illinois officials who are named as defendants, has moved to dismiss the case on other grounds.

Parents in Illinois have waited since 1995 for a law to go into effect and a vote from the Illinois’ Medical Disciplinary Board made it appear that would happen. After the legislature approved the law, it was held up in court waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to issue the rules guiding the law’s implementation.

After the court did its job, state officials blocked enforcement of the law with a 90-day grace period for abortion centers to became aware of it — even though similar laws have been on the books in other states for decades.

The board met in Chicago and decided not to extend the grace period further than what Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation put in place.

However, Riley ruled in favor of the ACLU , which convinced him to issue an injunction with its claims that it violates the state constitution — even though abortion was not legal when the constitution was put in place.

If it ever goes into effect, Illinois will join 35 other states with similar laws with a statute that requires that abortion practitioners inform the parents of a teenager seeking an abortion.

The lawsuit, on behalf of Illinois abortion centers, says "most young women who seek abortions already involve their parents," which makes pro-life advocates in the state wonder why the ACLU would sue to overturn the parental involvement law.

The lawsuit cites emergency situations and gives examples of "teens whose
parents beat them, threw them out of the house, and/or forced them to become a parent against their will when they found out about the pregnancy."

However, the law already provides for a judicial bypass procedure whereby teenagers who face domestic violence concerns don’t have to involve their parents in the abortion decision.

The ACLU should know because it is already exploiting that aspect of the law.

Anna Clark at RH Reality Check, a pro-abortion blog, wrote recently that she is excited about how the Illinois ACLU is exploiting that loophole in the law to get abortions for any teenager who doesn’t want to tell her parents.

Leah Bartelt, the pro-abortion staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois, is among those who have teamed together to form The Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project as a response to the state’s new parental involvement law.

Clark admits the ACLU will exploit the abuse provision.

"It is designed to not only protect the right of the judicial bypass, but to make it accessible to young women who might otherwise be daunted by dodging through the legal process on their own," she said.

In its legal papers, the Illinois ACLU claims "Illinois courts are not prepared to handle these cases," which makes it appear it will push so many teenagers into secret abortions that the court system will be overwhelmed.

A Texas version of the hotline found 469 minors from around the country called to get secret abortions with its help.

The Hope Clinic for Women abortion center and Dr. Allison Cowett, the Director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Reproductive Health are the plaintiffs named in the ACLU lawsuit. No teenagers or their parents are parties in the suit claiming to represent their interests.

Related web sites:
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