Illinois drops parental consent requirement for pregnant minors seeking an abortion

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A pregnant minor seeking an abortion in Illinois now has a right to do so without their parent or guardian knowing about it.

"It is an unfortunate sad day for parents in the State of Illinois," said Robert Gilligan, Catholic Conference of Illinois executive director.

Governor Pritzker signed legislation repealing the Parental Notification of Abortion Law last December. The law passed in state in the mid-90s, but due to court battles, enforcement didn't start until 2013.

In that time, the ACLU of Illinois assisted hundreds of minors seeking abortion who didn't want to or couldn't notify their parent or guardian.

"It was emotionally challenging for young people to have to share the most intimate details of their lives and their family situations with a judge," said ACLU of Illinois staff attorney Emily Werth.

More than 1,100 people under the age of 18 had an abortion in 2020 in Illinois, according to most recent data.

Werth said most pregnant minors do consult with their parents. She believes they will continue to do so.

"The young people who were harmed by the old law that was on the books were those that were not coming from those safe and supportive and stable home situations where they could involve an adult family member," Werth said.

The majority of states require parental involvement and/or consent for a minor to get an abortion.

Gilligan said the law in Illinois was reasonable.

"Illinois law allows for the sale of cigarettes over age 21. You have to be 21 to purchase cigarettes in Illinois and now a minor child could have an abortion. I think to most people that doesn't make any sense," he said.

This part of a larger debate in this country as abortion rights supporters and opponents prepare for the Supreme Court's decision on abortion.
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