CHICAGO, Illinois, July 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit today dissolved the federal injunction against the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act. As a result of the court's decision in Zbaraz v. Hartigan, for the first time Illinois law will entitle parents to notification before their minor daughters are taken for abortions.
The decision is the culmination of four years work by the Thomas More Society, particularly TMS Special Counsel Paul Linton, who devised the legal strategy which ultimately led to the lifting of the injunction.
“This is an incredible victory for Illinois parents and their children,” said Peter Breen, Executive Director and Legal Counsel of the Thomas More Society.
“Parental involvement laws enjoy overwhelming public support. These laws promote the integrity of the family and ensure that parents are consulted so that their children are not forced into an abortion decision. A wealth of social science data indicates that parental involvement laws lead to lower pregnancy rates, out-of-wedlock births and abortions.”
The Parental Notice Act has been in legal limbo for more than ten years because of the Illinois Supreme Court's refusal to issue the rules necessary to make the Act effective. Since the passage of the Act in 1995, over 50,000 Illinois minors have obtained abortions, more than 4,000 of whom were 14 years old or younger, without any requirement to notify their parents beforehand.
Following Linton's legal strategy, representatives of pro-life organizations met with DuPageCounty State's Attorney Joseph Birkett in the spring of 2005 to ask him to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt the rules required by the 1995 Act. Birkett agreed and filed his petition in June 2006.
On September 7, 2006, the Thomas More Society, representing a range of interested organizations, filed a supplemental petition with the state supreme court. Less than two weeks later, the Illinois Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Bob Thomas, unanimously adopted Supreme Court Rule 303A.
After various delays, Attorney General Lisa Madigan returned to federal court in March 2007 and petitioned Judge David Coar to lift the permanent injunction which had been issued eleven years earlier.
After Judge Coar denied the petition, the Thomas More Society intervened in the case on behalf of State's Attorneys Stu Umholtz and Ed Deters to press an appeal against the injunction. That effort has led to the lifting of the injunction today.