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IN THE COURTS | Judge Rules Illinois Parental Notification Law To Remain on Hold

IN THE COURTS | Judge Rules Illinois Parental Notification Law To Remain on Hold
[March 4, 2008]

U.S. District Judge David Coar ruled on Friday that an Illinois law requiring minors to notify their parents before obtaining abortions will remain on hold because it fails to provide minors with a practical judicial alternative to notifying their parents, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. The ruling called parts of the statute, known as the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, "contradictory and incomplete." The law, passed in 1984 and updated in 1995, has never been enforced because the Illinois Supreme Court hadn't issued rules on how judges should handle appeals of the notification requirement, according to the AP/Tribune. In 2006, the state Supreme Court "unexpectedly" adopted rules addressing the judicial bypass.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (R) requested that the federal court dissolve the order that put the law on hold. Madigan spokesperson Robyn Ziegler on Saturday said that the attorney general's office is "still looking at appropriate next steps for the state, including an appeal."

Thomas Brejcha of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society's Pro-Life Law Center said he expects Madigan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The American Civil Liberties Union said that most teenagers tell their parents before undergoing abortions and that laws requiring notification leaves some girls vulnerable. "We're very pleased" with the ruling, Lorie Chaiten of the ACLU of Illinois, said. She added, "This should be the end of that law" (Tarm, AP/Chicago Tribune, 3/1).