Baby Steps in the Right Direction

Illinois Some good news this morning for those of us in Illinois, which has long suffered under some of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation:

In a victory for those seeking stricter limits on abortion, the Illinois Supreme Court decided Monday to revive a long-dormant state law that prohibits minors from obtaining abortions without notifying a parent. The General Assembly passed the law in 1995, but it never went into effect because the state Supreme Court refused to issue rules to govern how minors could seek waivers in special circumstances. Without those rules, the Parental Notice of Abortion Act was unenforceable, a federal judge ruled in 1996. But on Monday, the state Supreme Court–which has only one of seven members remaining from 1995–issued a one-sentence announcement saying it would issue the needed rules.

Waiting ten years for one sentence to be written by any branch of state government on behalf of a pro-life law is apparently the best we can hope for in the Land of Lincoln.

“I’m just delighted to hear it,” said DuPage County State’s Atty. Joseph Birkett, who wrote a letter to the justices in June urging them to take up the issue. “An abortion is an invasive medical procedure. Usually, it’s better to have an adult family member involved.” The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based legal advocacy group, also wrote to the justices this summer on behalf of 10 other organizations that oppose abortion. But a court spokesman said Monday that Chief Justice Robert Thomas had been aware of the issue before any letters arrived and that the court acted on its own initiative.

I wonder if anyone really believes that.

Supporters of the notification law say once the new rules are written, Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan can ask U.S. District Judge Paul Plunkett to lift his 1996 court order, thus allowing the law to take effect. But potential hurdles remain. Officials at the ACLU of Illinois, which won the original court order, could challenge the new rules. Madigan spokeswoman Cara Smith on Monday said, “We will analyze the rules that the Supreme Court issues.”

Lisa Madigan is strongly pro-abortion, so the implementation of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act is by no means a done deal. It is promising, however, that there was no published dissent to the state Supreme Court’s announcement.

The parental-notification law has been a matter of controversy in Illinois, the only state in the region that does not require notification. Abortion opponents said the law was badly needed, saying thousands of minors come to Illinois from neighboring states to obtain abortions, skirting their local notification laws.

As witnessed by the number of out-of-state license plates — from Indiana and Wisconsin especially — we see in Chicago-area abortion clinic parking lots.

Share Tweet Email