Pro-life advocates gathered Wednesday in the Illinois Statehouse to raise awareness about a pro-abortion bill that would end a parent’s right to know if their underage daughter plans to have an abortion.
Capitol News Illinois reports Father Edward Ohm, of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, led the peaceful rally with prayer and a call to protect both born and unborn children from the abortion industry.
Ohm said they grieved about the laws that Illinois passed earlier this year allowing unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth and forcing taxpayers to fund them, according to NPR Illinois.
“We want to follow what God wants us to do in this life, and some of the things that they’re promoting goes against God’s will in our life,” Ohm said.
The Democrat-controlled state legislature quickly rammed the law through over Memorial Day weekend, ignoring strong public opposition. A pro-life protest at the state capitol in March was so massive that police had to close the building due to overcrowding.
Now, when Illinois lawmakers return for the fall session, they are expected to consider ending one of the last remaining abortion regulations in the state: parental notification. The 1995 state law requires that an abortion provider notify a parent, grandparent or legal guardian of a minor 48 hours prior to her abortion. It does not require the parent to consent, just to be notified.
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Ohm said they strongly oppose the bill to repeal the law, as do most Americans. Parental notification/parental consent laws have strong public support. Currently, 37 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
These laws can help protect young women from abusive situations. Sexual abusers have been known to take their young victims to abortion clinics when they become pregnant.
NPR Illinois reports more:
But some Democrats say more needs to be done on abortion. Their party controls both the Illinois House and Senate, and they hope to repeal the parental notification law when the legislature returns to Springfield this fall.
Among that group is State Rep. Chris Welch, a Democrat from Hillside and co-sponsor of the parnetal-notification repeal legislation.
“Sometimes, some families communicate better than others,” Welch said. “But I don’t think that’s a business for the legislature to get involved in.”
A repeal would be “disastrous” for the safety of young girls, according to Illinois Right to Life.
Mary Kate Knorr, spokeswoman for Illinois Right to Life Action, told Capitol News Illinois in July that parental notice laws are a “checkpoint” for human trafficking and abuse situations.
“If this law were repealed, an abuser could take a young girl to a clinic for an abortion without her family even knowing,” the pro-life organization warned. “This law is purely common sense, enacted as to be a safeguard for young, vulnerable girls.”
The organization also pointed to statistics showing that abortions dropped significantly among minors in Illinois after the parental notification law went into effect.
Interestingly, Illinois bans girls under 18 from using tanning beds and prohibits them from getting tattoos without a parent’s permission. If Welch’s bill passes, though, it may allow a girl as young as 12 to abort her unborn baby without her parent’s knowledge.
Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, previously has spoken about how parental involvement laws help protect young girls from abuse.
“Who takes under-aged, pregnant girls across state lines for abortion? Most often, it’s noncustodial, older men who are sexual predators seeking to conceal the crime of statutory rape or other noncustodial adults involved in sex trafficking of minors,” she wrote at LifeNews in 2012.
Foster pointed to the testimony of abortionist Bruce Lucero who wrote in the New York Times: “… a parent’s input is the best guarantee that a teenager will make a decision that is correct for her—be it abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. And it helps guarantee that if a teenager chooses an abortion, she will receive appropriate medical care.”
However, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other abortion advocacy groups often lobby against parental involvement laws. They believe that underage girls should be able to abort their unborn babies in a dangerous surgical or drug-induced abortion procedure without their parents’ knowledge or consent.