Never Mind: Judge Yanks 15-Year-Delayed Illinois Parental Notice Law Back Into Legal Limbo
By Peter J. Smith
CHICAGO, November 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Just hours after an Illinois law requiring abortionists to notify parents 48 hours before performing an abortion on teenage girls went into full effect, an Illinois judge issued a restraining order delaying the law's implementation until he can hear yet another legal challenge.
The Associated Press reports that Cook County Judge Daniel Riley ordered the 1995 Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which has languished in legal limbo since its inception, to be put on hold until he had the opportunity to hear arguments. The court order was requested by the American Civil Liberties Union, and Riley agreed saying that from his perspective the ACLU "demonstrated the distinct possibility of irreparable harm."
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ioppolo has objected to the restraining order, demanding, "Why does Illinois have to have a law that doesn't take the parents into account?"
He continued, "The idea of having parental notification serves legitimate interests."
Earlier Wednesday morning the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation decided to enforce without further delay the pro-life law, which requires that one parent or legal guardian must be notified 48 hours in advance when a minor aged seventeen or younger seeks an abortion.
Pro-life advocates have long fought for the law, which has never been enforced due to the refusal of the Illinois Supreme Court to craft rules for minors in extraordinary cases that would have need of a "bypass hearing." The state's high court finally crafted rules in 2005, which faced legal challenges in federal court and were eventually upheld by the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in July.
Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Chicago-based public-interest firm Thomas More Society, had praised the state agencies' decision to enforce the law as "a great victory for Illinois families" that would once more make sure that girls have "guaranteed access to the most important pregnancy crisis counselors: their parents."
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.
Judge Riley's decision means the Thomas More Society will once more go to bat for the pro-life law in court as it has for the past 14 years.
Pro-life advocates point out that 36 other states enforce parental notification laws, but without similar legislation taking effect in Illinois, the state becomes a central destination in the United States for girls obtaining abortions without the involvement of their parents. This in turn frustrates efforts to put an end to cycles of sexual abuse perpetrated by sexual predators on minor girls, whom predators coerce into having abortions without telling their parents as a way to cover up their ongoing crimes.