Gov. JB Pritzker signed a law on Friday that ends parental notification, a requirement that doctors notify the parents of a minor seeking an abortion.
“With reproductive rights under attack across the nation, Illinois is once again establishing itself as a leader in ensuring access to health care services,” Pritzker said. “This repeal was essential; because it was the most vulnerable pregnant minors who were punished by this law; victims of rape and physical abuse in unsafe homes.”
A 1995 law required doctors to notify a pregnant minor’s parent within 48 hours before an abortion procedure, but it did not take effect until 2013 due to litigation. An exception could be made if the minor was a victim of physical or sexual abuse or neglect by an adult family member, if the minor was emancipated or married, if a medical provider determined there was a medical emergency, or if an adult family member waived the notice in writing. A judge could also waive the requirement.
Supporters of the 1995 law argued that parents deserve to be informed of medical procedures performed on their children.
“Today’s bill signing by the governor strips parents of their basic right to know what is happening in their minor daughter’s life,” state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, said in a statement. “Even more concerning, removing this common sense protection will increase the likelihood of sexual abuse, exploitation and allow the trafficking of minor girls to continue unchecked.”
But those who supported the repeal of parental notification argued this provides access to medical care to the most vulnerable minors.
“Access to sexual and reproductive health care starting at a young age is crucial,” state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said in a statement. “By providing resources and education, we are giving young girls vital information and bodily autonomy.”
But Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life issued a statement saying Pritzker “usurped the right of Illinois parents to be involved in their children’s health care, and endangered countless minor girls by signing HB 370, repealing Illinois’s Parental Notice of Abortion law.”
The new law creates a Youth Health and Safety Advisory Working Group to identify laws and policies related to parenting and pregnant minors. The group will address topics such as consent to medical care, treatment, pregnancy and post-pregnancy health provisions.
The Reproductive Health Act established in Illinois law a fundamental right to reproductive health care, including abortion, in 2019.
Nearly 1,100 Illinois minors had abortions in 2018, according the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website.
The repeal of parental notification is scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2022.
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