CHOICE/LESS 402: Welcome to Abortion Court

Jenn Stanley

Season 4 of CHOICE/LESS is all about teens, sex, abortion, and the law. In this episode, host Jenn Stanley talks to legal experts, including a former Cook County judge, about how teenagers in Illinois (and 37 other states) end up in court trying to prove they’re mature enough to have an abortion:

Judge Susan Fox Gillis: A young woman and her attorney come into my chambers. I would greet them, say hello. I would call her Miss Doe. Sometimes they would start to tell me their names and I would interrupt and say, “No, I don’t need to know your name; in this case, you are Jane Doe.” And I’d introduce myself. “I’m Judge Susan Fox Gillis,” and say, “this is how we’ll proceed. You’re going to be sworn in, this lady over here is the court reporter, she’s taking everything down. Your attorney is going to ask you the questions …

The questions teenagers can be asked include:

  • When did you have sex?
  • With whom did you have sex?
  • How many times?
  • How many partners?
  • Weren’t you using contraception?

Listen to learn more about what happens to young people when they find themselves before a judge for seeking an abortion.

Transcript (PDF)