Parental Notification Law Upheld By Illinois' Highest Court

Jul 11, 2013

Young women in Illinois will need to notify their parents before getting an abortion. The state’s parental notification law was upheld today by the Illinois Supreme Court.

The decision ends a legal fight that goes all the way back to 1995. It became law when Republicans briefly won control of the Illinois House, and has been the subject of state and federal court battles off-and-on since then.

The federal courts have approved parental notification laws in the past, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois argued the Illinois Constitution afforded greater protections. The justices disagreed.

ACLU lawyer Lorie Chaiten says the law will finally take effect on August 15th.

"We as a state have turned our backs on the young women who will be harmed by the statute. ... You know, again, we're going to do everything in our power to try to protect the young women of the state."

Chaiten says in the short term, the ACLU is focused on counseling young women about their options. But in the long term, the ACLU could try to get the legislature -- now solidly under the control of Democrats -- to revisit the law.

The ruling is good news for anti-abortion groups, who've had a hard time getting laws through a legislature dominated by Democrats. Bob Gilligan, with the Catholic Conference of Illinois, says as surrounding states have tightened abortion laws, Illinois has become a haven.

"We hope that, now that this law will go into effect in Illinois, we will see that trend stop."

Gilligan says he's not that worried about an attempt to repeal notification — the General Assembly tried and failed a few years ago.