Parental Notice Resolution: Live Blog from the C.O.W.

Committee of the Whole 11/20I’m blogging from the Committee of the Whole meeting, at which the parental notice resolution (not to be confused with the ordinance) will be presented for movement on to next week’s City Council meeting for a vote. 5:45 p.m. All twelve aldermen are present. Mayor Weisner is absent—I hear he’s on vacation at his luxury home in Florida. The C.O.W. are currently discussing items from the Finance Committee. They have already discussed the Planning and Development Committee items. Government Operations is up next, and the parental notice resolution is the second of their items. This might be a good point to clarify the difference between the parental notice resolution and the parental notice ordinance. The parental notice ordinance was originally floated by Fourth Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence a couple months ago, before Planned Parenthood had even opened. He was aghast to learn that there are medical providers—like Planned Parenthood—that will perform procedures or give drugs to minors without parental knowledge. He formally proposed a parental notice ordinance at the Government Operations Committee meeting October 23, along with Aldermen Chris Beykirch and Richard Irvin. The ordinance would require any medical provider to inform parents before any medical procedure, including administering drugs, is given to a minor. The ordinance is currently on hold at the G.O. Committee while some tricky legal issues—like how a municipality can provide judicial bypass, there being no municipal courts—are worked out. The parental notice resolution was proposed by Eighth Ward Alderman Beykirch, also at the October 23 G.O. meeting. It is a non-binding resolution that calls upon the State of Illinois to take action to enforce the 1995 Parental Notice Act, which has been held up in federal court for twelve years. The resolution was punted to the legal department at the October 23 meeting at the insistence of acting chairman Stephanie Kifowit. Some phrases were altered at the November 13 G.O. meeting, and it was then sent forward to the C.O.W., without recommendation. 6:05 p.m. The G.O. Committee meeting is now presenting items. They’re on the resolution issue now, which Alderman Beykirch is now explaining to the group. He says, “I can assure you that I for one don’t consider this a litmus test of how anyone would feel about a parental notice ordinance.” Beykirch says the Naperville City Council will also have a resolution like this moving forward by the end of the year, which Lawrence corroborates. Alderman Rick LawrenceLawrence is now presenting his concern that the State law deals only with abortion; he’d like the resolution to call on the state to require parental notice of all medical procedures on minors. Lawrence has just passed out notes for an amendment to the resolution which he will proposed at the November 27 meeting. 6:10 p.m. Lawrence insists this is not a pro-life issue; that even Planned Parenthood told him at a private meeting last week that parental involvement is very important. Bob O’Connor asks that any amendments be provided in writing. Lawrence says the written sheet he passed around is what he’ll propose for an amendment. 6:15 p.m. Kifowit says she has met with medical professionals, including some from Dreyer, and that the only procedures that can be administered to minors over twelve years are mental illness counseling, drug abuse treatment, sexually transmitted disease treatment, and two others I’m not typing quick enough to type. Alderman Stephanie KifowitI think the gist of her argument is that we’d be asking the state to include these other five items in the list of items requiring parental notice (consent, actually, for other medical procedures). Lawrence says that may be what doctors say, but he knows cases to the contrary, where parents are not informed of procedures. O’Connor suggests this discussion would be better engaged at the City Council meeting next week, and says that the resolution will be placed on Unfinished Business, which means the item will be open for public discussion. That means that we all need to sign up to speak. Call the City Clerk at 630-844-3615 and say you’re signing up to speak for three minutes on the parental notice resolution. I’ll be sending Talking Points on this issue soon. If you’re not already signed up for my e-mails, go back to the home page and sign up now.

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