UPDATE 5/31/20: The legislative session was impacted due to COVID-19. We look forward to continue working on this issue during the next legislative session.
SB 1594 repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires a healthcare provider to notify an adult family member (parent, grandparent, step-parent living in the home, or legal guardian) at least 48 hours prior to performing an abortion for a patient under 18. The law creates a judicial bypass for those who cannot notify an adult family member. Decades of research and experience demonstrate that forced parental involvement laws like this hurt young people and serve no valid purpose.
Healthy family communication cannot be legislated: We all want young people to be able to talk to their parents about important life decisions. However, the idea that the government can force healthy family interactions ignores reality for many youth and the lasting injuries that result from enforcing these laws.
- The majority of young people voluntarily tell a parent about an unplanned pregnancy – and the younger a minor, the more likely they are to involve a parent. Those who do not tell a parent often involve another family member or trusted adult.
- The minority of young people who do not talk to their parents often have concerns such as: fear of physical or emotional abuse, loss of financial support, or homelessness; fear of being forced to give birth against their will; or serious family problems such as a parent who is sick or imprisoned.
The judicial bypass process itself harms young people: The “judicial bypass” alternative to parental notice – where a young person must ask a judge for permission to have an abortion without notifying a parent – compounds the harms for young people.
- Youth face major logistical hurdles accessing a judicial bypass – such as getting away from school or home during business hours without raising suspicion, and travelling to and from a courthouse.
- Young people are understandably distressed by being required to go to court and to tell the most intimate details of their life to a stranger.
The judicial bypass process serves no purpose: Since the law went into effect in 2013, judges granted more than 99.5 percent of bypass requests throughout Illinois because they believed the young people were mature enough to make this decision independently, in consultation with their health care providers and chosen support systems.
Every leading medical organization opposes forced parental involvement laws, including: The American Medical Association; The American Academy of Pediatrics; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; The Society for Adolescent Medicine; and The American Public Health Association.