From the Chicago Tribune
- Tribune staff report
July 15, 2009
A federal appeals court in Chicago on Tuesday breathed new life into a long-dormant Illinois law that requires physicians to notify the parents of teenage girls before performing abortions.
Attorneys on both sides of the issue said the law — which was passed in 1984 and updated in 1995 — would take effect within weeks unless its critics ask for a stay and the three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees to put its order on hold pending a rehearing.
Anti-abortion activists applauded the appeals court’s decision as a long-overdue victory, while opponents of the law said the measure was guaranteed to usher in dangerous problems.
“It’s about time the law was approved,” said Thomas Brejcha, president of the Thomas More Society, which fought to have the measure enforced. “It’s ridiculous that it took this long to get a decision.”
Lorie Chaiten of the American Civil Liberties Union, which battled to keep the law from going into effect, said the law “creates unnecessary, dangerous hurdles to accessing essential health care for young women facing an unintended pregnancy in the state of Illinois.”
The appeals court described the measure as “a permissible attempt to help a young woman make an informed choice about whether to have an abortion.”
The law does not require parental consent, only that parents be notified 48 hours before an abortion for a girl 17 or younger.
A provision of the law allows girls to bypass parental notification by notifying a judge instead, a procedure the ACLU argued would not be practical.
The General Assembly passed the 1995 law, but left it to the state Supreme Court to issue key rules governing how minors could seek waivers in court. The Supreme Court never issued rules — opening the door for the lengthy delay and legal challenges.
In 2007, U.S. District Judge David Coar issued the ban on enforcement — an order that was dissolved by the appeals court’s decision.
*Chicago NOW intends to take action against this ruling. Stay tuned for updates!