Update: Repeal of parental notice of abortion clears House

Pritzker has signaled his support

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House late Wednesday gave final passage to a bill that repeals the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, clearing the way for Gov. JB Pritzker to sign it into law.

The bill narrowly passed out of the Senate on Tuesday night on a 32-22 vote, with three Democrats voting no and six Democrats not voting.

It passed the House after 11 p.m. Wednesday, 62-51. Because it did not receive a three-fifths majority, or 71 votes, it cannot take effect until June 1, 2022.

The parental notification law in its current form was passed in 1995 but did not take effect until 2013 because of litigation. It requires abortion providers to notify a parent or adult family member at least 48 hours in advance of performing the procedure on a patient younger than age 18.

It does not require the consent of a parent and it allows for a judicial bypass in cases of medical emergencies or if the minor declares in writing that she is a victim of sexual abuse, neglect of physical abuse by an adult family member.

Supporters of repealing the notice requirement said it deters many pregnant minors from seeking abortion services and could put them in danger if the parent who would be notified is their abuser.

They also argued that the judicial bypass provision is both intimidating and overly burdensome, especially since the onset of the pandemic, which forced many courts to stop holding in-person hearings.

Susan Fox Gillis, a retired Cook County circuit judge, told the House Executive Committee on Wednesday that since the law was enacted, she and her colleagues in the court had heard “hundreds” of cases from minors seeking a judicial bypass.

“That law, in my experience as a judge tasked with deciding these waivers, is unnecessary, overly punitive, and it places burdens on young women seeking health care. It should be repealed,” she said. “Each of the young women who came before me had good reasons for not sharing her decision with a parent.”

Opponents of the bill, however, argued that the issue is not about a pregnant minor’s right to seek an abortion but rather the right of parents to be involved in their child’s health care decisions.

“No abortion clinic should be able to perform irreversible surgery on either of my daughters without telling me,” Mary Hallan FioRito, an attorney with the Catholic Women’s Forum, told the committee. “At a time when there is so much division in our state, in our country, the Parental Notice of Abortion Act is a popular and broadly supported and reasonable safeguard that allows parents to properly exercise responsibility for the care of their children.”

This story has been updated to include the results of the floor vote.