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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Won’t Lift Injunction On Abortion Law

CHICAGO - A federal judge refused to remove a permanent injunction on a state abortion law. The Illinois Parental Notice Abortion Act of 1995 prohibits doctors from perform an abortion on a minor or incompetent person without giving at least 48 hours notice to an adult family member.

The Act provides five exceptions, including a judicial waiver of notice if a court finds the petitioner mature enough to make an informed decision.

The judicial exception held that the Illinois Supreme Court would promulgate rules and make sure the matter is handled in a confidential and expedient manner.

On Feb. 9, 1996, a judge entered a permanent injunction order against the Act, because the state Supreme Court had not promulgated judicial bypass rules, which left the Act incomplete.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued that newly passed Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303A fulfilled the requirements of the injunction. Rule 303A, called "Expedited and Confidential Proceedings Under the Parental Notification Abortion Act," provides that the court shall provide a written ruling within 48 hours after a minor or incompetent person filed a petition for a judicial waiver of notice; the petitioner is entitled to an appeal to the Appellate Court if the original petition is denied; and the petitioner can use a pseudonym and all documents related to the petition are sealed.

The Act's opponents claimed it unconstitutionally denies abortions to minors because it authorizes the court to waive parental notification, but it did not authorize a method of consent for an abortion.

Defendants argued that it should be assumed that consent for an abortion is granted when parental notification is waived, but U.S. District Judge David H. Coar disagreed. "The Illinois statute lacks the language that permits a state court to authorize the consent for an abortion," Coar wrote. "This court cannot presume that the statute authorizes something that it does not state. As such, the minor is left without recourse, except to obtain consent from her parents, which the court, under these circumstances, has deemed not in her best interest. The statute is contradictory and incomplete on its face without an authorization of consent provision, and this court declines to lift the permanent injunction under these circumstances."

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