I have bad news. After 26 years of hard fought litigation, we lost our epic battle to protect Illinois teens from the disastrous, and sometimes dangerous, consequences of compelled parental or judicial notice of the teen's pregnancy and decision to have an abortion!

The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act today.

The decision revives the dormant Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act and creates dangerous hurdles to medical care for young women facing unintended pregnancies.

The law will go into effect August 4 and will mean that a pregnant teen who seeks an abortion must either tell a parent or go to court and try to persuade a state court judge that she is mature enough to make the decision or that an abortion, without parental involvement, is in her best interests.

What the ACLU plans to do:

While we explore all of our legal options, our first priority is the help providers and teens navigate the requirements of the Parental Notice Act.

First, ACLU Reproductive Rights Project Director Lorie Chaiten and other ACLU staff lawyers are prepared to represent teens during the first bypass hearings.

Second, in preparation for the possibility of this bad judicial ruling, Reproductive Rights Project Attorneys have prepared a procedure manual to help health care providers and lawyers guide teens through the bypass proceeding. We are fine-tuning that manual and have already alerted medical providers about the Court's decision and the new procedures they will have to comply with.

Finally, we are planning to increase our legal team by hiring additional lawyers and recruiting volunteer lawyers throughout the state. At a minimum, we will need to file hundreds of bypass procedures every year and work with court officials in every county in which teens seek abortions.

What you can do:

  1. Make a generous contribution to our legal effort to provide legal representation to teens who will (after August 4) need to go before a judge if they are unable to notify a parent of an abortion decision.
  2. Forward this to anyone you know who cares about reproductive freedom and understands how important it is that all teens have access to reproductive health care.
  3. Let us know the names of lawyers who would be interested in being trained as pro-bono attorneys to guide teens through a bypass hearing.

We have three weeks to mobilize and create a system to help teens.