Abortion advocates in the Illinois General Assembly are tackling all sides of the issue regarding restrictions on access to abortion in the state. Democrats in both the House and Senate are working to repeal a law that requires a parent or guardian to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion if a minor is seeking the procedure (The Chicago Tribune).
Those who support this parental-notice rule, it seems straightforward to include a guardian in the health of a minor, despite consent not being required in almost half of states. With the Texas law being introduced, opponents desire to repeal laws such as these has become more urgent. Representative Anna Moeller, Democrat, has said, “there is another dimension to this now. I expect Texas-style laws will be coming to states near us. We’re already surrounded by states that have very strict abortion-access laws. It will be this race to the bottom: Whoe can be the toughest on abortion until the Supreme Court weighs in?” Moeller is leading the fight to repeal such laws to help provide greater access to abortions in the state of Illinois.
This particular law was introduced in 1995, when Republicans controlled both the House, the Senate, and the governor’s office. However, it was not implemented until 2013 due to challenges filed against the law. As a result, the number of abortions among minors has dropped 38%, with abortions involving those over the age of 17 remaining steady.
Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life commented that “it’s a very commonsense law that actually transcends the abortion issue.” She pointed out that the facility is required to contact the guard, not the minor seeking the procedure. “This has to do with the basic right of parents to be involved in their children’s health care decisions. Here in Illinois… minor girls can’t get their ears pierced, they can’t get a tattoo, they can’t go to a tanning bed, they can’t go on a school field trip, they can’t even get an aspirin from the school nurse without their parents’ explicit consent.”
If there is a situation where a girl may be subject to harm by notifying her parent of guardian of her desire to receive an abortion, a judge may decide if she is mature enough to make this decision for herself. Gehrke presses that this judicial oversight allows a judge to identify minors who are victims of abuse, assault, or even sex trafficking. This would allow the judge to ensure the minor receives the aid needed to remove her from a potentially harmful situation. For many, this is enough of a reason to maintain this law.