Illinois Governor Undermines Parental Rights in New Abortion Law

Illinois Governor Undermines Parental Rights in New Abortion Law

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill into law Dec. 17 allowing teenage girls to obtain an abortion without notifying their parents.

The law, known as Youth Health and Safety Act, or HB 370, repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, which required physicians to inform the parents or guardian of a minor at least 48 hours prior to performing an abortion. 

“Illinois … is called to be an example for the nation in the protection of reproductive health care while also working to establish healthy family communications, protecting the health and safety of youth including those who are pregnant and parenting, and investing in individuals throughout their lives,” the new law reads.

Pritzker claimed that the old law failed to protect young victims of rape and physical abuse in unsafe homes. But the 1995 law did have an exception for those in such circumstances, allowing the minor to petition for a court waiver if she “is a victim of sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse by an adult family member.”

A March 2021 poll conducted by The Tarrance Group found that 72% of Illinois voters— including 58 percent of pro-choice voters—supported the parental notification law. 

Illinois Sen. Terri Bryant joined the majority of her constituents in opposing the Governor’s recent decision:

“The Governor has chosen to once again attack the rights of parents by signing a bill that essentially tells parents that they do not deserve to know about the health care of their children,” she said. “Repealing this vital law will prevent parents from being able to provide the support these young girls need during the most difficult time in their life.

“The Governor and his allies continuously claim that repealing the Parental Notice of Abortion Act would help protect victims of rape, incest and domestic abuse, but the reality is the opposite,” she added. “The [Parental Notification Abortion Act] has mechanisms built-in that actually help to identify young girls who have been trafficked or abused.”

The new law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.


Above: Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at a press conference in Pontoon Beach, Illinois, on Dec. 13.

Photo: Bill Greenblatt/UPI/Alamy Live News

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