Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act Heading to the State Supreme Court
Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act Heading to the State Supreme Court
Written By David E. Smith   |   12.01.11
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 violates the Illinois State Constitution of 1970. The Court is expected to grapple with the question of whether, and to what extent, the Illinois Constitution includes protection for abortion rights. Abortion was illegal in Illinois from the time of the State Constitution’s adoption until the United States Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The Chicago-based Thomas More Society sought to intervene in the case on behalf of two Illinois State’s Attorneys, whom the Act vests with enforcement responsibilities, and who questioned the adequacy of representation of their interests by the Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The Society also filed a brief for more than twenty Illinois State’s Attorneys as amici curiae on the merits in defense of the Parental Notice Act in the Appellate Court.

Paul Linton, Special Counsel for the Society, welcomed the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to review the Act. “The Illinois Supreme Court’s action ensures that there will be a prompt resolution of the law’s constitutionality, and we believe that the high Court will uphold the law. Similar laws in other States have been associated with significant declines in the numbers of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, births, and abortions among minors.  The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the vital interests that States have in protecting pregnant minors and the rights of their parents to provide guidance and counsel in this very sensitive area.”

Subject to certain exceptions, including medical emergencies, the Illinois Parental Notice Act — whose enforcement has been blocked almost from its inception due to successive federal and state court challenges brought by the ACLU — requires that an unemancipated minor notify one of her parents, her legal guardian, a step-parent residing in the same household, or a grandparent of her intention to obtain an abortion. The Act does not require parental consent, only notice, and it also provides for confidential options for “bypassing” the notice requirement, including expedited and confidential appeals, in cases where a minor has been abused or where a court finds she is mature enough to make her own decision, or it is otherwise in her best interest to proceed without notice.

Pro-lifers assert that the absence of enforcement of the law has made Illinois an “abortion dumping ground of the Midwest.”

A coalition including Illinois Citizens for Life, Illinois Federation for Right to Life, the Illinois Right to Life Committee, the Illinois Family Institute, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum of Illinois, Orthodox Christians for Life-Chicago, Lutherans for Life, Concerned Christian Americans and the Catholic Conference of Illinois have been battling on behalf of the law.

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a public interest law firm that counsels and defends those who work to protect innocent human life, defends those who proclaim faith-based values in our nation’s public square, and strives to protect the institution of marriage as a union of man and woman formed to beget, bear and nurture new human lives. For more information, please visit:

David  E. Smith
Dave Smith is the executive director of Illinois Family Institute (501c3) and Illinois Family Action (501c4). David has 30 years of experience in public policy and grass-roots activism that includes...
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