League staff at the Capital building in Springfield, IL
After a fourteen year struggle, Illinois’s embattled Parental Notice Act went into effect on Wednesday, November 4,2009.
The law, which passed the Illinois State Legislature with bi-partisan majorities in both houses, requires physicians to contact one parent, step-parent or other legal guardian at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on a girl under 18 years old. The law has a judicial bypass option whereby a minor girl could appear before a judge to receive permission to get the abortion without notifying her parents in certain cases.
When first it passed, the law was immediately enjoined by the ACLU for not having clear enough rules for how a judicial bypass could be obtained, and it stayed that way for the next 14 years. In 2009, that process was finally finished and the Illinois Supreme Court declared that the law should be enforced.
90 Day Moritorium on Parental Notice Law
At that point, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation declared a 90 day moritorium on enforcement so that abortionists could put procedures in place to follow the law. That moritorium expired on November 4, but the ACLU recommended another moritorium be put in place and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation was going to comply.
But the Pro-Life Action League and a host of other pro-life groups from around the state rallied their supporters who flooded Governor Quinn’s office with calls demanding that the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation end the moritorium. It was announced on the morning of November 4 that there would be no further extensions and the law would go into effect immediately—a great victory for pro-life forces.
Unfortunately, the battle wages on as the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center, Chicago is in court with the ACLU as they attempt to read a broad right to abortion into the Illinois Constitution to rule the Parental Notice Act unconstitutional. The federal courts have already ruled that the Parental Notice Act is valid and constitutional under the U.S. Constitution, and the Illinois Supreme Court has instructed [PDF] that “our state courts are prepared to proceed to apply the law as enacted.