Statement of Lorie Chaiten, Reproductive Rights Project Director:
We are disappointed by the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Parental Notice of Abortion Act. The decision allows a law to go into effect that will jeopardize the health and safety of young women across the State of Illinois. This dangerous law was passed by the legislature nearly 20 years ago relying on outdated, ideological and unsupported assumptions about the purported harms of abortion which have been shown to be inaccurate.
The reality is that most young women seek out the guidance of a parent or trusted adult when making the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Those who don’t, choose not to for good reason. Research and experience in other states shows that young women who are forced to involve a parent in their abortion decision against their will are at substantial risk for physical and emotional abuse, being kicked out of their homes or being forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will. Research also demonstrates that young women are capable of making an informed medical choice regarding abortion – indeed as capable as adult women and other teens who are pregnant and choose to carry to term. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court today acted to permit this dangerous law to take effect based on the General Assembly’s assumptions about the purported harms of abortion and the supposed inability of young women to make medical decisions. In the face of today’s decision, teens are forced to make a difficult choice – notify an abusive parent, navigate a complex, imposing judicial system, or carry a pregnancy to term against their will.
This law will not go into effect for another 35 days. In the meantime, the ACLU of Illinois will be working with health care providers, lawyers and others interested in teen safety across the state to help young women avail themselves of the judicial waiver or bypass alternative afforded by the act. We will work to ensure that every young woman in our state whose health and safety is at risk under this law will have professional assistance to seek a court waiver.