Friday, July 17, 2009

Federal Appeals Court Removes Injunction Against Illinois' Parental Abortion Notifcation Law

from Illinois Federation of Right to Life, July 17, 2009

On July 14, 2009 the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dissolved the federal injunction against the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995. As a result Illinois parents will be entitled to notification before their minor daughters have an abortion.

The Parental Notice Act was locked in legal limbo for more than ten years but as a result of the combined efforts of pro-life/pro-family groups, and the support of the pro-life grassroots we finally have victory! Legislative HistoryIn 1995, the Illinois Federation for Right to Life was determined to pass a parental involvement law and indeed, the Illinois legislature passed and Governor Jim Edgar signed the Parental Notification Act.

The Act required that the Illinois Supreme Court promulgate the rules for the judicial bypass, a provision to allow notice to be waived if necessary to protect the minor. The Supreme Court refused to do its job until September of 2006! As the litigation continued in the Illinois court, an attempt was made to repeal the parental notification law by Rep. Fritchey who introduced HB5840 (the Adolescent Health Care Safety Act) in 2006. It did not pass out of the Rules Committee. In 2007 Rep. Fritchey introduced HB317 again hoping to repeal the 1995 law.

The ‘Adolescent Healthcare Safety Act’ (HB317), introduced on January 18th, 2007 did not have the votes to pass. Determined to stop notification for Illinois parents Rep. Fritchey introduced an amendment to HB317 that did not repeal the 1995 act, but rendered it useless. That bill was heard in the House on April 26, 2007 and lost. The vote was 55 “yes” and 62 “no’s”. This difficult battle for the right of parents to be notified was won because of the faithful support of grassroots pro-lifers who stood by and assisted the Illinois Federation for Right to Life.

In the spring of 2005 a representative of the Illinois Federation for Right to Life and representatives of other pro-life/ pro-family organizations met with DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett to ask him to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to promulgate the rules required by the 1995 Act. Birkett agreed and filed his petition in June 2006. On September 7, 2006, the Thomas More Society, joined by many organizations, filed a supplemental petition. Less than two weeks later, the Illinois Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Bob Thomas, unanimously adopted Supreme Court Rule 303A.

In March 2007 the attorney general’s office petitioned Judge David Coar to lift the permanent injunction. Initially Judge Coar refused to lift the injunction ruling that the law required a consent provision. The Thomas More Society appealed that decision citing that the law was a notification law not a consent law. The judge reversed his decision. Judge David Coar lifted the federal injunction against the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act and now for the first time since Roe v. Wade, parents in Illinois have won the right to be notified if their underage daughter seeks an abortion.

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