Abortion notification law not in effect as scheduled

November 3, 2009 9:02:14 PM PST
Enforcement of an abortion notification law did not go into effect as scheduled in Illinois on Tuesday. The law requires notice to a parent or adult relative prior to an abortion on a patient age 17 or younger.

Since the legalization of abortion 36 years ago, there have been constant legal battles over state laws that place restrictions on abortion, including in Illinois.

In 1995, lawmakers passed the parental notification law which requires doctors give 48 hours notice to a parent or adult relative of a girl 17 years old or younger, prior to an abortion.

"The young woman still has the authority and nobody can take it away from her to say yes or no to whether she'll have an abortion," said Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society.

But the notification law has never been enforced. That is because it has been tied up in the courts for 14 years - first a federal injunction and after that was lifted in August, the state's medical disciplinary board asked for more time so doctors can prepare for the law.

The ACLU has challenged the law from the day it was passed and says it will continue.

"We are challenging the law we think it is unconscionable as a matter of fact to expose teens to more risk or harm," said Colleen Connell, ACLU.

The ACLU says it worried about the teens that may suffer abuse if parents or relatives are told... In addition, the ACLU says under Illinois law pregnant teenagers can consent to any type of medical care.

"If she carries the pregnancy to term she can put the child up for adoption without telling her parents or getting their consent," said Connell.

The Thomas More Society has been fighting to get the law enforced.

"The idea is to get family members talking to one at about the serious surgical procedure which would have a life long consequence," said Brejcha.

The parties involved will be back in court on Wednesday. The disciplinary board could ask for another extension or ask for the law to be enforced.


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