Illinois took a critical step today to protect and expand access to abortion care with the signing of HB370 – the Youth Health and Safety Act – by Governor JB Pritzker. The measure reaffirms Illinois’ commitment to the fundamental principle that everyone in our state can access abortion care without government interference, and repeals the dangerous Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
The action comes as the Supreme Court of the United States considers a Mississippi case that may well overturn the near half century precedent in Roe v. Wade. In addition, the Court recently allowed a radical Texas law clearly outside the findings in Roe to remain in effect.
In addition to repealing PNA, the new law creates a working group focused on pregnant and parenting youth, and youth who may become pregnant and parents. The working group – whose membership will include 10 young people to contribute to the process – will identify existing and needed resources for youth in the areas of: education, housing, employment, food access, and childcare.
“Thank you Governor Pritzker for finishing this work and signing the bill,” said State Senator Elgie Sims, lead senate sponsor of the new law. “Working together, we have not only repealed the unnecessary burden of PNA, but we have launched a working group that can provide real, meaningful resources for young people in our state for years to come.”
“It was the right thing to lift the obstacles created by PNA from young people in Illinois, young people who faced abuse, neglect and harm.”
The PNA measure repealed today was first approved by the General Assembly and signed into law in 1995. Blocked by court injunctions for more than two decades, the law has been enforced for eight years. The repeal takes effect on June 1, 2022.
“The debate on HB370 underscored the need for this legislation,” added State Representative Anna Moeller, the chief House sponsor of the measure. “For some in our legislature, forcing all people who become pregnant to carry that pregnancy to term. We see this movement accelerating nationally.”
“We are committed to protecting abortion rights in Illinois.”
During the period that PNA has been enforced, the ACLU of Illinois has represented nearly 600 young people seeking a judicial bypass in courts around the state. In more than 99% of these matters, the court granted the bypass.
“We saw the harm caused by PNA firsthand while representing young people in courts all across Illinois,” added Colleen Connell of the ACLU of Illinois. “We celebrate this measure – and the recognition by the State of Illinois that all people must have the ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions.”
“We thank Governor Pritzker and all the legislators who supported this measure for their commitment to protecting this basic constitutional right in Illinois.”