IL: Judge Delays Implementation of Parental Notification Law

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that courts in Illinois are still not prepared to handle the implementation of a parental notification measure that was passed over 10 years ago and has never been enforced. The bill, which would require girls 17 and younger to either notify their parents or obtain permission from a court before having an abortion, was passed in 1995, but was never enforced because the Illinois Supreme Court refused to issue rules for obtaining the judicial bypass until September 2006. Subsequently, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked a district court to lift the injunction and allow the law to be enforced.

US District Judge David H. Coar, however, refused to lift the injunction because some of the state’s 102 counties have not put the necessary rules and procedures into effect. In his ruling, Judge Coar did not challenge the constitutionality of the law. He also indicated that the attorney general could ask that the injunction be lifted again once all 102 counties are prepared.

“We heard Judge Coar indicate today that he is not prepared to rule on allowing enforcement of the mandatory parental notification law until the courts across our state can ensure the process will protect the constitutional rights of young women as well as health and safety,” Lorie A. Chaiten, head of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union’s reproductive rights project, told the Associated Press.
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AP 2/6/07; Chicago Sun Times 2/7/07; Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report 2/8/07; Feminist Daily News Wire 1/24/07

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