Illinois Appellate Court Strikes Down Parental Notice of Abortion Act

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The Illinois Appellate Court on Friday reversed and remanded the decision of the Cook County Circuit Court upholding the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995. The appellate court's decision did not resolve the ultimate legal issues raised in the case, even though those issues were fully briefed in both the trial and appellate courts.

"We strongly disagree with the Illinois Appellate Court's decision to send this back to the trial court without deciding the legal issues involved," says Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel at the Thomas More Society. "This decision is flawed in so many respects that further trial proceedings would be pointless. Only a prompt review by the Illinois Supreme Court can correct the injustice of this law languishing in legal limbo."

The Thomas More Society represented over 20 state's attorneys as "friends of the court" in support of the parental notice law in the appellate court and has sought to intervene on behalf of two downstate state's attorneys in support of the parental notice law in both federal and state courts.

In 1995, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires a parent or guardian to be notified 48 hours before a child under 18 has an abortion. In 1996, a federal district court permanently enjoined the act due to the lack of a confidential appeal and bypass rule. In 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court issued the required appeal and bypass rule, but the parental notice law still has not gone into effect due to litigation in federal and state courts by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Since 1995, over 50,000 abortions have been performed on Illinois minors. Illinois is the only Midwest state without a parental notice or consent law in effect, and so, over the same period, thousands more abortions were performed in Illinois on non-resident minors, who were allowed to escape or even evade their own states' parental notice or consent laws.

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