The Reproductive Rights Project for the RBF/ACLU of Illinois sought and won a permanent injunction (issued in early 1996) barring enforcement of Illinois’ 1995 Parental Notification of Abortion Act. The ACLU’s challenge was based, in part, on the plain fact that under the federal constitution adequate procedures did not exist for judicial waiver or “bypass” of the parental notice requirement.

In September 2006 the Illinois Supreme Court suddenly issued rules it claimed met the constitutional standard for the judicial by-pass process. In early 2007, the Illinois Attorney General asked the federal court to lift the 1996 injunction based on the Illinois Supreme Court’s action – though the Attorney General acknowledged that the circuit courts were not prepared to implement bypass proceedings at that time. The court denied the Attorney General’s request, but preserved the right of the State of Illinois to raise the request anew when the courts were ready.

In March 2007 the Attorney General again sought the dissolution of the injunction, based on a statement from the Illinois Supreme Court that the Court now was willing to “presume, and therefore assert” that the circuit courts were ready to implement the by-pass. We filed a brief in response including information about the lack of readiness in a number of jurisdictions across Illinois. The District Court again denied the State’s request. In March 2008, the State of Illinois appealed the District Court’s decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In July 2009, the Seventh Circuit dissolved the injunction based on its conclusion that the newly passed procedural rules removed all federal constitutional deficiencies.

Update: As of June 2022, the Parental Notice of Abortion Act (PNA) has been repealed. Minors are no longer required to notify an adult family member in order to access an abortion in Illinois.

Date filed

January 14, 2009


U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit


David H. Coar

Case number

84 C 771