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Illinois Supreme Court unanimously upholds parental notice of abortion law

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CHICAGO, July 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Illinois’ long-delayed Parental Notice of Abortion Act will finally go into effect next month thanks to the Illinois Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling this morning that the law does not violate the Illinois Constitution. Under the Illinois law, passed in 1995 but never ruled enforceable until now, a parent or guardian must be notified at least 48 hours before a child under the age of 18 undergoes an abortion.

“This is a huge victory for the rights of parents not only in Illinois but in all midwestern states,” said Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Hope Clinic for Women, Ltd., v. Flores represents the successful culmination of an almost nine-year effort by the Society’s special counsel, constitutional scholar Paul Linton, to have the law enforced.  Due to repeated appeals by the ACLU, the law remained in legal limbo for 18 years.

ACLU’s repeated challenges to the constitutionality of the Illinois parental notice law resulted in Illinois becoming a “fugitive” abortion state – a “dumping ground” for out-of-state minors’ abortions. 

Until now, Illinois was the only Midwestern state without a parental notice or consent law in effect. This allowed thousands of abortions to be performed in Illinois on non-resident minors who crossed state lines, often accompanied by the adults who impregnated them, to evade their own state’s parental notice or consent laws.

“With this ruling, parents across the state and the Midwest can breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that state law finally allows them to fully parent their children, and safeguard their lives and those of the unborn,” said Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois.

The full ruling is available here

The Court’s opinion states: “We conclude, therefore, that our Parental Notice Act furthers a ‘constitutionally permissible end’ by encouraging an unmarried, pregnant minor to seek the help and advice of a parent or other adult family member in making the very important decision whether or not to bear a child.”

The decision wording echoes that of the amicus brief filed by Mauck & Baker attorneys on behalf of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Catholic Medical Association.

The brief, authored by Richard C. Baker, Amy Parrish, and Noel Sterett, argued that Illinois’ Parental Notice Act served the legitimate purpose of helping minors make mature and informed decisions about whether to abort, allow parents to assist their daughter in selecting a safe and competent abortion provider, ensure that parents have the opportunity to provide additional medical history and information to assist abortion providers, and ensures that parents have adequate knowledge to recognize and respond to post-abortion complications.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke quoting the U.S. Supreme Court in the opinion, writing that, “The State has a strong and legitimate interest in the welfare of its young citizens, whose immaturity, inexperience, and lack of judgment may sometimes impair their ability to exercise their rights wisely.”

Attorney Parrish stated “We are encouraged that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the wisdom of an Illinois law designed to protect young women in one of the most crucial decisions of her life - whether to allow the child inside her to live.”

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