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Parental Notification Law Challenged in Illinois

A lawsuit was filed today challenging a parental notification law set to go into effect in Illinois on November 3rd. The complaint (see PDF), filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on the behalf of the Hope Clinic for Women and Dr. Allison Cowett, challenges the law’s constitutionality and states that “the Act severely restricts minors’ access to abortion by requiring a physician to notify a parent, grandparent, step-parent living in the household, or legal guardian of a minor’s intention to terminate her pregnancy and wait at least 48 hours before performing the abortion.”

The law in question mandates that physicians notify a young woman’s parents at least 48 hours before performing abortions on women 17 or younger. Illinois law does not require that parents consent regarding the abortion, only their notification prior to the procedure.

The law originally passed in 1984 and was updated in 1995, but has been held up for years by legal challenges. A Chicago federal appeals court ruled in July that the law is constitutional. In its decision, the court described the law as “a permissible attempt to help a young woman make an informed choice about whether to have an abortion”. The anti-choice Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit in September with the Illinois Supreme Court that seeks immediate enforcement of a parental notification law in the state.

Sources:

Hope Clinic for Women & Cowett v. Adams; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/3/09