Illinois parents claim victory as federal court reinstates parental notification on abortion

Illinois State Capitol building
Illinois State Capitol building


In what one pro-life leader called an “incredible victory” for parents and children, a federal court has lifted an injunction against an Illinois law which entitles parents to notification before their minor daughters are taken for abortions.

The Parental Notice Act, passed in 1995, has been in legal limbo for more than ten years because the Illinois Supreme Court refused to issue the rules necessary to make the Act effective, the Thomas More Society reports.

Paul Linton, special counsel for the Chicago-based Thomas More Society (TMS), developed the legal strategy to lift an injunction on the law.

In the spring of 2005 representatives of pro-life groups met with DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, asking him to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt the rules required by the Act. Birkett agreed to petition the court, filing in June 2006. In September 2006 the state Supreme Court adopted the requested rule.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in March 2007 then petitioned for the lifting of the permanent injunction against the law. The petition was denied, resulting in the appeal to the federal court.

Peter Breen, Executive Director and Legal Counsel of the TMS, said the latest decision was “an incredible victory for Illinois parents and their children.”

“Parental involvement laws enjoy overwhelming public support. These laws promote the integrity of the family and ensure that parents are consulted so that their children are not forced into an abortion decision. A wealth of social science data indicates that parental involvement laws lead to lower pregnancy rates, out-of-wedlock births and abortions.”

Since 1995, TMS says, over 50,000 Illinois minors have obtained abortions without any requirement to notify their parents. More than 4,000 of these minors were 14 years or younger.

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