Friday August 20, 2010

Motion Filed Demanding Illinois Supreme Court Rule on Parental Notice Law

By Peter J. Smith

CHICAGO, August 20, 2010 ( – Exasperated with Illinois’ parental notice law going unenforced for 15 years since its initial passage, pro-life attorneys are demanding the state Supreme Court intervene once and for all, so that the law can go into effect.

Attorneys for the Thomas More Society filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court Thursday morning requesting an immediate transfer of the legal case, which has embroiled the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, from the Appellate Court to their jurisdiction.

“More than fifteen years ago, with overwhelming bipartisan support, parental notice was supposedly made the law in Illinois, but as we sit here today, secret abortions on pregnant minors continue unabated,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society executive director and legal counsel.

Breen and TMS’s pro-life attorneys are appealing to a Supreme Court rule that allows transfer of cases to them directly when the “public interest requires prompt adjudication.” Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the case will continue to be litigated in the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court, where they do not expect a decision for at least a year.

“With this motion to transfer, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to immediately and definitively decide the constitutionality of parental notice in Illinois,” said Breen.

Judge Daniel Riley of the Cook County Circuit Court dismissed the lawsuit brought against the Act by the American Civil Liberties Union this past March, ruling the Act constitutionally valid. While he viewed the 1970 Illinois State Constitution as including a right to abortion, he said the Act should stand since the Illinois right to abortion is not broader than the federal right, thereby allowing for certain restrictions.

However, Riley issued an indefinite stay on his order for the duration of the ACLU’s legal appeal.

Breen earlier told that he believes the state Supreme Court would likely rule in favor of the law. Five years ago, the Supreme Court created a court bypass procedure designed to make the law constitutional in Illinois. However, he said the ACLU has often adopted a strategy of litigating to delay a law as long as possible before dropping an appeal they are in danger of losing.

In November 2009, the ACLU intervened in court to strike down the parental notice law on the very day it was finally supposed to go into full effect. Both the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation had decided to enforce the pro-life law without further delay when the ACLU intervened.

Since the passage of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act in 1995, over 50,000 Illinois girls below the age of majority have obtained abortions, more than 4,000 of whom were 14 years old or younger, without any requirement to notify their parents beforehand.

However, Illinois is also an abortion oasis in the Midwest for those looking to transport minors across state lines for abortion without their parent’s knowledge or consent. In the Midwest, only Illinois lacks a parental notification or consent law for a minor seeking abortion.

See previous coverage by

Pro-life Patience Wears Thin as Illinois Parental Notice Law Languishes in Legal Limbo

Court Vindicates Illinois Law against Secret Abortions for Minors

UPDATED: After Vote to Put Illinois Parental Notice Law Into Immediate Effect, Judge Issues Restraining Order

7th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Illinois Parental Notice Act

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