In Illinois, a pregnant minor may consent to confidential abortion services without a parent’s permission. However, the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act requires that an adult family member—someone over 21 years of age who is the minor’s parent, grandparent, stepparent who lives in the minor’s home, or legal guardian—must be notified 48 hours before the abortion is performed. There are some exceptions to the requirement of parental notice, including when a minor obtains a court waiver (sometimes called a “judicial bypass”) in an expedited and confidential proceeding.
Requiring parental notice before a minor can obtain an abortion is dangerous. While most young people choose to involve a parent or another trusted adult in their abortion decisions, some pregnant minors cannot. For some minors, mandatory parental involvement in the decision to have an abortion can lead to significant harms, including physical or emotional abuse, being kicked out of their homes, being forced to continue the pregnancy against their will, delay of the abortion procedure, or dangerous attempts to self-abort the pregnancy.
The ACLU of Illinois successfully fought against harmful forced parental involvement laws in the courts for nearly 40 years. And when the courts finally allowed the Parental Notice of Abortion Act to go into effect in 2013, we established the Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project to disseminate information about the parental notice law and to provide free legal assistance to minors who need to go to court to obtain a judicial bypass.
If you need information about Illinois’ parental notice law for minors seeking abortions or help with getting a judicial bypass of the notice requirement, visit www.ilbypass.org.