In response to wild, totally unfounded claims made anti-abortion defenders of Illinois’ dangerous parental notice of abortion law, a group of organizations who serve human trafficking survivors have joined together to make clear that repealing the law would have no impact on trafficking in the State of Illinois.

In recent weeks, momentum has built to repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act. The law, first passed in 1995, has been in effect for the past eight years. As part of the public campaign in opposition to repealing this harmful law, anti-abortion activists have adopted a red-herring message suggesting that enforcement of parental notice helps to protect youth who may be trafficked in the state of Illinois. There is no evidence for this assertion other than the theories of anti-abortion organizations. The claim has been repeated as recently as this week by elected officials in Springfield. 

Repealing the parental notice of abortion act in Illinois would not result in more child trafficking,“ the letter reads. “It would also not impact the ability for child trafficking victims to be identified.“

The letter, signed by leaders from numerous organizations that work every day on trafficking and other gender-based violence issues, argues that the misinformation being spread by these anti-abortion activists is rooted in harmful misconceptions about the extremely complex issue of human trafficking and exploitation. The groups note that it is also borne out of a fundamental misunderstanding that families and parents are always safe resources for youth who are experiencing trafficking. The letter notes that “in fact, traffickers can be and often are the young person‘s parents or family members.”

This specious argument is being advanced by those who have long promoted parental notice and other limitations on access to abortion care in the state of Illinois,“ said Emily Werth, a lawyer with the ACLU of Illinois. “To use the lives of young people who have experienced trafficking in a desperate attempt to maintain dangerous anti-abortion policies in the state of Illinois is the height of hypocrisy.”

The groups signing this letter felt compelled to respond to the repeated misinformation spread by anti-abortion activists because they saw that the collective goal of ending human trafficking was actually being made even harder by these sorts of misconceptions and misuses of the experiences of survivors of trafficking in the public debate.

A copy of the letter can be found here