The Illinois legislature has voted to repeal a law requiring that parents be notified if a child under the age of 18 seeks out an abortion and the state’s Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker has vowed to sign the measure when it reaches his desk.
The Illinois Senate voted to approve the repeal on Tuesday and the Illinois House narrowly passed the same bill on Wednesday, leaving just Pritzker to sign the measure repealing the state’s requirement that parents be notified when their child seeks to obtain an abortion.
Supporters of the law, the Chicago Tribune noted, were “eager to affirm Illinois’ position as a bastion of abortion rights in light of a Texas law enacted earlier this year that essentially bans the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy and as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a Mississippi case later this year that could undermine the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.”
Illinois has been at the forefront of liberalizing abortion laws, particularly following the passage of a Texas measure, which went into effect on September 1, effectively outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, around six weeks of pregnancy. Clinics in Illinois have been advertising themselves as “safe havens” for abortion, according to My Stateline Illinois, attracting out-of-state patients who might have otherwise been prevented from ending the lives of their unborn children.
Pritzker has even touted the state’s abortion laws in open pitches to corporations considering moving to Illinois, per the Washington Examiner. He “wrote to the CEOs of several Texas businesses, including Dell and Hewlett Packard, to encourage them to move to Illinois after Texas passed a law restricting abortion access,” the outlet noted.
Wednesday’s vote guarantees further liberalization of the state’s laws, allowing minors to seek abortions, even though minors in Illinois, according to the Illinois Health and Hospital Association cannot “in general” consent to most medical treatment.
The Tribune noted that the law could become a political flashpoint because of the trend of parents demanding input in their children’s education and other decisions made outside the home.
“The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act has been on the books since 1995 when Republicans controlled the governor’s office and both chambers of the General Assembly. It didn’t go into effect, however, until 2013, when the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the law was constitutional after years of legal challenges,” the Tribune noted.
It is currently one of 38 such parental notification laws on the books.
The law does have a “bypass” option, and minors may request such a “bypass” from a judge. The Tribune notes that 99.5% of those petitions have been granted. Planned Parenthood — one of the state’s largest abortion providers — told the Tribune that the bypass provision is inadequate, and implied that the presumption should be that the minor can seek the abortion.
“You have to go in and be prepared to share some of your most personal information about a very personal decision with a complete stranger who is not necessarily trained in counseling or health care,” Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois told the paper. “Where you really should be is sitting down with a counselor, sitting down with a health care provider, and getting the information you need to be able to make the best decision that you can for yourself.”
“The Illinois House voted 62-51 on Wednesday night to give final approval to the legislation, which would repeal a 1995 law requiring that a parent or guardian be notified when girls younger than 18 receive an abortion,” The Hill reported. “Because the measure did not pass by a three-fifths majority, the law cannot take effect until June 1.”