In what one pro-life advocate called a “great victory” for families, a Wednesday vote by the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board has cleared the way for the state to begin enforcement of a 1995 law requiring parental notification for underage girls who seek abortions.
Board members declined to extend a grace period put in place by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The law requires doctors to notify the parents or guardians of girls 17 or younger before the teens undergo abortions. The law does not require parental consent, but requires 48 hours notice before an abortion. Similar laws are in effect in 35 other states.
The law requires no notice in a medical emergency or in cases of sexual abuse. A provision allows girls to bypass parental notification by going to a judge.
Board members were told that courts in a majority of Illinois counties were not prepared to handle the judicial provision. Some board members expressed disappointment in the courts’ lack of preparation.
Before the vote, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Respect Life had voiced concerns about what it called an “obvious conflict of interest” for Brent Adams, the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The office reported that Adams is listed as a member of the leadership team of Personal PAC, the largest abortion promoting political action committee in Illinois.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois said it planned to ask a Cook County judge on Wednesday afternoon for a temporary restraining order to keep the state from enforcing the law.
Supporters of the law were pleased it will take effect.
"This is a great victory for Illinois families. Girls that face an unwanted pregnancy will be guaranteed access to the most important pregnancy crisis counselors: their parents," Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, commented in a statement. "We've fought this legal battle so that Illinois would join with the majority of the people in the nation who value parental rights and the well-being of their children."
The Parental Notice of Abortion Act was passed in 1995. However, it was never enforced because the Illinois Supreme Court refused to issue rules detailing how judges should handle appeals of the parental notification requirement.
In July, a federal appeals court lifted the injunction on the law.