Abortion Defenders Lose Challenge of Illinois Law

     SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – Illinois can require doctors performing abortions on girls younger than 18 to give their parents 48 hours’ notice before the procedure, the state Supreme Court ruled.
     Thursday’s ruling clears the way for the 1995 bill to finally become law. It was been in legal limbo since its passing.
     Abortion advocates argued that it is unconstitutional because it denies young women their rights to privacy, due process, equal protection and gender equality. Supporters of the law meanwhile say that parents have a basic right to know if their children are getting abortions without them knowing.
     “It is undoubtedly true, as plaintiffs contend, that the act, by requiring minors who seek an abortion to give notice to an adult family member or obtain a judicial waiver of such notice, interferes with the minor’s right to keep medical information confidential,” Justice Anne Burke wrote for the unanimous court. “However, we find, as did the circuit court below, that plaintiffs cannot show that the act’s intrusions on a minor’s privacy are unreasonable – at least not in all cases, which is all that is necessary to defeat a facial challenge.”
     Juveniles “often lack the experience, perspective, and judgment,” as compared with adults, according to the ruling.
     “Applying the above standards here, we find that, while a minor clearly has an expectation of privacy in her medical information, which includes the fact of her pregnancy, the intrusion on the minor’s privacy occasioned by the Act is not unreasonable,” Burke wrote. “The state has an interest in ensuring that a minor is sufficiently mature and well informed to make the difficult decision whether to have an abortion. To advance that interest, it is reasonable for the state to encourage an unemancipated minor under the age of 18 who wishes to have an abortion to seek the support of a parent or other interested adult, or to require her to prove her maturity by obtaining a judicial waiver in a waiver process that is expedited and confidential.”
     The Illinois Supreme Court also dismissed the challengers’ gender equality claims that state law, which alleged that the law prioritizes childbirth over abortion, advancing the stereotype about the role of women as mothers.
     “We find no evidence that the act’s purpose is to deny pregnant minors their right
     to an abortion or to advance a preference for childbirth,” Burke wrote. “Furthermore, since we have already held that the act does not violate equal protection, we do not agree with plaintiffs that the act discriminates against minor females who choose to have an abortion. But even if we had agreed with plaintiffs’ premise, we would be compelled to find no gender equality violation. The discrimination which is alleged is between different classes of persons of the same gender. The gender equality clause of our constitution has never been interpreted so broadly so as to apply in such situations.”

%d bloggers like this: