Illinois teens and their unborn babies will remain protected under a state law that requires underage girls to notify a parent before having an abortion.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers introduced bills in the Illinois House and Senate to repeal the 1995 state parental notification law.
This week, however, the state legislative session ended, and lawmakers did not act on either bill, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. The pro-abortion legislation never advanced out of committee.
There is a chance the bills could be resurrected. The report did note that lawmakers could consider action during a special session later this summer on emergency legislation.
Still, the news is a huge victory for life. Pro-life advocates, human trafficking victims and others fought hard to keep the common-sense law in place, emphasizing how it protects young girls and unborn babies. Without the law, young girls could get secret abortions – or be forced into them by an abuser – without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
This spring, Brook Bellow, a survivor of human trafficking, spoke out about the necessity of parental involvement laws and urged lawmakers to keep the Illinois law in place. As a young teenager, she said she was raped repeatedly by her abusers and, when she became pregnant, forced to abort her unborn babies.
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“Had my parents been notified, my mother would have known what city I was [in]. She would have known what street I possibly would have been near. She could have contacted law enforcement,’’ she said.
She and others with the Parents for the Protection of Girls coalition urged state lawmakers to keep the Illinois Parental Notification law in place.
However, Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other pro-abortion groups pressured lawmakers to repeal the law.
Illinois requires that a parent or guardian be notified at least 48 hours before their underage daughter has an abortion. For cases of abuse, it includes an exception that allows underage girls to make a request to a judge, rather than notify a parent.
Polls show that parental involvement laws have strong public support. A 2011 Gallup poll found 71 percent of Americans favor laws requiring parents’ involvement in a minor’s abortion decision.
Parental consent is a common requirement for most actions involving children – from medication and ear piercings to school field trips and participation in sports. Illinois also prohibits minors under 18 from using tanning beds, donating blood or getting tattoos without a parent’s permission. If the pro-abortion bill passes, however, the state would allow girls as young as 12 to abort their unborn babies without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
Parental involvement laws protect children from coercion and abuse and ensure adults are involved in making important, irreversible and life-threatening decisions about their child and grandchild. They also protect young victims of sexual abuse who may be forced or coerced into an abortion by their abuser. Research shows that these laws help save unborn babies from abortions as well.
Currently, 37 states currently require parental involvement (consent or notification) before a minor has an abortion.