Illinois Teen Abortion Law Delayed for at Least a Day

Jodi Jacobson

The Chicago Tribune reports today that enforcement of Illinois' parental consent law has been delayed until a meeting this Wednesday of the medical disciplinary board for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation meets.

A change was made in this article at 11:54 am on Wednesday, November 4th,  to correct an error that implied the Illinois law is a parental consent law.  It is not.  It is a parental notification law.

The Chicago Tribune reports today that enforcement of Illinois’ parental notification law has been delayed until a meeting this Wednesday of the medical disciplinary board for the Illinois Department of Financial
and Professional Regulation meets.  State regulators said enforcement of the 1995 law, set to go into
effect Tuesday, would be delayed at least until Wednesday morning.

"Enforcement could begin then or the grace period could be extended further," said Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for the agency.
If enforced, the law would require physicians in Illinois to notify a parent or guardian when a girl 17 or younger seeks an abortion.  No notice is required in a medical emergency or if the girl declares in writing that she was sexually assaulted.
Anti-choice groups have long sought the law, but critics say it could
keep minors from seeking safe procedures. In July, a federal appeals
court in Chicago lifted a federal injunction on a 1995 version of the
law, clearing it for enforcement. In August, the regulation department
granted doctors a 90-day grace period before it would go into effect.
Up until now under Illinois law, no notification or consent has been required from parents or guardians in the case of a teen seeking abortion care.  If the law goes into effect, a teen would still not need consent, but parents or guardians would need to be notified that a teenager is
planning to have an abortion.  A waiver process allows girls to bypass parental notification by
going before a judge, who then would have 48 hours to rule on the
In a story published on November 2nd, Tribune reporter Sarah Olkon wrote that:
Critics of the notification law believe it’s unconstitutional and that
it will harm minors by preventing them from obtaining safe abortions or
forcing them to carry their pregnancies to term. Most teenagers already
involve their parents in the decision, abortion rights advocates say.
Those who don’t, they argue, have good reason.
"You don’t need a law to tell you to talk to your daughter," said Melissa Gilliam, chief of family planning at the University of Chicago Medical Center who specializes in pediatrics and adolescent gynecology.
The delay in enforcement of the law was allowed so that medical board members could discuss ways to ensure the judicial waiver process is accessible to all young women and girls in Illinois.
There is widespread concern that the system will not provide sufficient access to judicial bypass.
Critics worry the courts are unprepared to handle the petitions. Lorie
Chaiten, the Reproductive Rights Project director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said court personnel in some jurisdictions, particularly in more rural areas, are still unfamiliar with the bypass petitions.

The Illinois civil rights group has been training lawyers and advocates
on how to shepherd girls through the court procedure. The group also
created a Facebook profile and a Web page,, to provide information.

Anna Clark wrote an article for Rewire in early October detailing efforts by Illinois groups to set up hotlines enabling teens the greatest information on access to the judicial bypass process.

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