Restraining order issued on abortion law

November 4, 2009 5:35:13 PM PST
A judge has issued a temporary restraining order delaying enforcement of a law requiring doctors to notify parents of teens seeking an abortion. The law was originally passed in 1995. It would require doctors to notify parents or guardians before giving abortions to someone who is 17 years or younger. But the legal battle over the law is far from over

The temporary restraining order was issued hours after a state regulatory board gave the law the go ahead.

The order is a big win for the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU was successful in delaying enforcement of the law for 14 years by getting a federal injunction.

When it was lifted in August, a state medical board granted a 90 day grace period until this morning.

"It is our position the moratorium is lifted right now as of this morning," said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society.

Not so fast. After 14 years of legal wrangling, the pro-life movement thought it had finally been able to get the hotly debated parental notification law enforced. But six hours after the Illinois state medical disciplinary board gave the law the green light, a cook county judge blocked it.

"That is all abortion is?business. Now it is back to business as usual. But we will fight it," said Joe Schiedler, Pro-Life Action League.

The American Civil Liberties Union requested a temporary restraining order. The ACLU is trying to get the law declared unconstitutional.

"We are delighted," said Lorrie Chaiten, ACLU. "We had very serious concerns about the significant and irreparable harm that would be occasioned by this law going into effect and being enforced."

The law requires doctors to notify a teenage girl's parents or an adult relative about her plans to have an abortion.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood worries about the teenagers who do not feel comfortable talking to their parents about an abortion.

"What we know from these laws being in effect in other states is that young women who are forced to tell their parents about their unintended pregnancy and about their abortion decision are in fact abused, kicked out of their homes, and left homeless," said Chaiten.

But there is a provision the law that requires no notice for sexual abuse, a medical emergency and a pregnant teen can bypass the law by going to the judge.

The pro-life movement calls the law a very moderate law.

"All across the Midwest every other state has a parental involvement law, whether notice or consent," said Breen.

Thirty six states have parental notification or consent laws.

All parties return to court in a few days for a status hearing about an injunction.

One argument the ACLU is making is the fact that under Illinois law pregnant teenagers do not need parental notification to make medical decisions, such as having a C-section, nor do girls under the age of 17 need parental consent to give their baby up for adoption.


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