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Feminist News


March-15-10

Court to Hear Arguments on IL Parental Notification Law

A Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court will hear arguments today on a state parental notification law that has been stalled in the state since 1995. In November 2009 the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board decided that the state parental notification law should go into effect, but briefly thereafter, Judge Daniel Riley granted a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of the law. According to Associated Press, Judge Riley will hear today's arguments.

The law in question mandated that physicians notify a young woman's parents at least 48 hours before performing abortions on women 17 or younger. The law includes a judicial bypass and does not require notice in cases of sexual abuse or if there is a medical emergency. Illinois law does not require that parents consent regarding the abortion, only their notification prior to the procedure.

The law originally passed in 1984 and was updated in 1995, but has been held up for years by legal challenges. A Chicago federal appeals court ruled in July that the law is constitutional. In its decision, the court described the law as "a permissible attempt to help a young woman make an informed choice about whether to have an abortion". The law was to go into effect on November 3rd. The anti-choice Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit in September with the Illinois Supreme Court that sought immediate enforcement of the law, but this request was not granted.

The order was granted as a result of a lawsuit filed in October 2009by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on the behalf of the Hope Clinic for Women and Dr. Allison Cowett. This suit challenged the law's constitutionality and stated that "the Act severely restricts minors' access to abortion by requiring a physician to notify a parent, grandparent, step-parent living in the household, or legal guardian of a minor's intention to terminate her pregnancy and wait at least 48 hours before performing the abortion."

Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 11/6/10; Associated Press 3/15/10