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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Illinois Judge Blocks Abortion Notification Law

(CN) - Hours after an Illinois agency approved a parental notification law on abortion, a Cook County Circuit Court judge stopped it from going into effect.

Judge Daniel Riley granted a temporary restraining order to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which said the parental notification law is unconstitutional and would harm minors by blocking them from getting safe abortions.

"We are delighted," Lorie Chaiten, director of reproductive rights for the ACLU of Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune. She said anonymity protects young women from getting abused by their families or kicked out of their homes when their parents find out about their planned abortions.

The law requires abortion providers to notify parents when a minor seeks an abortion. Parental consent is not required, and the notice requirement is waived in the case of a medical emergency or if the girl declares in writing that she's a victim of sexual abuse.

On Wednesday morning, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation allowed enforcement of the law, declining to extend a 90-day delay "grace period" granted to doctors in August.

Doctors who show "willful failure" to notify minors' parents could lose their medical licenses, according to department spokeswoman Susan Hofer.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ioppolo argued that the state has the authority to enforce the notification requirement.

"This is where a good parent, a loving parent, might have something to say," he said. "If that is not the case, that is what the bypass procedures is for."

Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center told a conservative news site that Illinois "has become a dumping ground for abortion," because its neighboring states have stricter parental consent and notification laws. Iowa requires notification in most cases, while Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin require parental consent.

The next hearing is set for Nov. 19.

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