Illinois Governor Cancels Parental Abortion Notification



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CHICAGO (AP) – The governor of Illinois on Friday signed legislation to repeal the requirement that parents or guardians be notified when a minor requests an abortion, calling it an effort to protect reproductive rights that are despoiled and threatened elsewhere.

As of January 1, 2024, the measure repeals a 1995 law requiring that a parent or guardian be notified at least 48 hours in advance when a minor aged 17 or under requests an abortion. The previous law did not require consent, which is required in almost half of the states.

Democratic Governor JB Pritzker called the repeal “essential,” saying the 1995 law punished the most vulnerable pregnant minors – victims of rape and other abuse in dangerous homes. Him and the Democrats who voted this fall to repeal the notification requirement also referred to efforts to restrict abortion in other states and at the federal level.

“With reproductive rights under threat across the country, Illinois is once again asserting itself as a leader in ensuring access to health services,” said Pritzker.

A conservative majority in the United States Supreme Court signaled this month that he would maintain a Mississippi ban and could overturn a national abortion right that existed under the landmark Roe v. Wade of the 1973 court. The court this month also left in place a Texas ban on most abortions.

Illinois Republicans have criticized the move by Pritzker and other Democrats as denying parents the right to know what is going on in their daughters’ lives. GOP Representative Avery Bourne called it “out of touch” with the majority of Illinois residents and said it puts girls in the Midwest at risk.

“Parents deserve the right to know if their minor child is seeking major medical intervention, especially a procedure like an abortion where there can be serious short- and long-term consequences,” Bourne said. “Instead, today the Democratic majority has chosen to recklessly put these rights by the wayside.”

Supporters of the notification law called it “common sense.” They noted that under the 1995 law, a minor in a family situation where notifying her parents or other relatives would result in harm can apply to a judge who then decides whether she is mature enough and emotionally healthy to decide for herself.

Democrats who control the Illinois government have focused on strengthening access to abortion and reproductive health care in recent years, an effort that has taken on new urgency after Republican President Donald Trump took office and began appointing conservative judges and federal judges.

In 2019, Illinois enshrined the right to reproductive health care, including abortion, into state law. In July, the state also required that birth control be available through a pharmacist, without a visit to the doctor.

As Republican-controlled states and courts have restricted access, including in neighboring states, Illinois has seen an increase in the number of out-of-state people coming to Illinois for abortions.

Pritzker’s office, citing the Illinois Department of Public Health, reported that 7,534 non-residents had abortions in Illinois in 2019, up from 2,970 in 2014 and 5,528 in 2017.

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