Chicago, Ill., Jul 11, 2013 / 15:11 pm
A unanimous ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court means that a 1995 law requiring parental notification for a minor seeking an abortion will take effect, with implications in surrounding states as well.
“This is a huge victory for the rights of parents not only in Illinois but in all Midwestern states,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief council of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, on July 11.
The Thomas More Society said that the delay in implementing the law allowed abortions to be performed on non-resident minors, letting them avoiding notification laws in their nearby home states. Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin require parental consent for an abortion, while Iowa and Minnesota require parental notification.
The Catholic legal group charged that many of these young girls were accompanied to the Illinois abortion clinics by the adult men who impregnated them.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke ruled that the state “has an interest in ensuring that a minor is sufficiently mature and well-informed to make the difficult decision whether to have an abortion,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports. She said the law encourages pregnant minors to “seek the help and advice of a parent or other adult family member in making the very important decision whether or not to bear a child.”
The law requires doctors to inform the parent or guardian of a girl under 18 when she seeks to procure an abortion.
Burke said that minors can expect privacy in medical information, but the notification law is a “not unreasonable” intrusion on this privacy. She noted that other Supreme Court cases have ruled that parental notification laws are constitutional.
Over 50,000 abortions have been performed on pregnant minors in Illinois since 1995, including almost 5,000 abortions on girls 14 years old and younger. In the same time period, over 55,000 abortions have been performed on non-residents, though the number of these performed on minors is not known.