Illinois repeals parental notification abortion law, allowing outsiders to infringe on family autonomy and the best interests of the child

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Illinois lawmakers have passed legislation that repeals the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, moving the bill to the desk of the state’s governor, J.B. Pritzker, who is expected to sign it.

Quick Facts

The bill passed the Illinois Senate on a 32-22 vote, with three Democrats voting against the bill and six Democrats not voting. It passed the House 62-51, but because the bill did not receive the necessary three-fifths majority, or 71 votes, the legislation must wait until June 1, 2022, to take effect.

Previously, Illinois law required doctors to notify parents before performing an abortion on a child under the age of 17, with some exceptions made for victims of sexual abuse or those in medical emergencies. The law, which required parental notification but not parental consent, was originally passed in 1995 but didn’t take effect until 2013 due to ongoing litigation. With this legislative action, Illinois has now cancelled the last of any real restrictions on abortion access.

Illinois Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R, said, “Today’s vote puts the government between loving parents and their children during the most difficult decision of their lives. Illinois Democrats are now putting more children at risk by not allowing their parents to have influence over their health and well-being.”

Other Illinois Republicans also argued that the repeal would damage families. State Rep. Avery Bourne, R, responded to the bill’s repeal by stating, “There is nothing more basic than a parent and child relationship where the parent has the right to know what is happening. Not to control it, not to make the decision for the daughter but to know.”

Supporters of repealing the notice requirement argued that it deters pregnant minors from seeking abortion services and could cause them physical harm. State Democrats hope to replace the law with the “Youth Health and Safety Act,” which would create a 20-member task force comprised of lawmakers and minors that would identify resources for pregnant and parenting youth. The proposed law is supported by the pro-abortion organization Planned Parenthood.

Other state representatives are also pushing back against the legislation. Illinois State Sen. Darren Bailey, R, argues that minors shouldn’t be able to get an abortion without talking to their parents first. “I’m going to call it what it is…. Other than just an absolute godless mindset. What’s driving this, to allow a 12 year-old girl to make her own decision without the consent of her parents?” Bailey said. “I simply cannot fathom the recklessness of a bill like this,”.

While a majority of Illinois Democrats voted for the repeal, the small collection of Democrats who did not support the repeal indicate a small, but steady support for pro-life values that may unite some Democrats and Republicans and lead to Illinois voters electing more pro-life representatives and state senators in a state whose politics have become dominated by the Chicago metro area.

“Illinois is different,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat who supported repeal of parental notification, explained of the reasoning behind this repeal. “In Illinois, we trust women to make decisions about their bodies. We trust people to control their reproductive health.”

Girls under the age of 18 are not women. They are children. Illinois law says so in all other areas of everyday life and culture. There are child labor laws regulating when and how much Illinois minors can work. Children under 18 cannot legally consent to a nose job or a major abdominal surgery. They cannot legally sign themselves out of a hospital or into drug rehab. They cannot open a bank account or apply for a credit card without an adult co-signer. Illinois children under the age of 18 can’t get a “full driver’s license” and those under the age of 17 and 3 months can’t get any kind of driver’s license unless they have completed a driver’s education course. And students in public K-12 schools in Illinois need a parent’s written permission to take their prescription medication from the nurse — and a parent must be notified immediately if a medication error has occurred.

Yet, state lawmakers want everyone to believe that a child who has already made less-than-ideal decisions that led to an unwanted pregnancy (or who may have been traumatized by a rape) somehow has the presence of mind, emotional wherewithal, and legal understanding to make an adult decision that will impact not just their own physical and emotional health, but that of their unborn child — all without the knowledge and support of one or both loving parents, who will be there for their daughter long after the abortionists have moved on to “care for” the next underage “woman.”

Those who voted to repeal this law claim that they — and not parents — have the best interests of Illinois daughters at heart, but their only real interest is in pushing young, desperate, fearful, and traumatized girls into terminating their pregnancies and making sure that the abortion industry continues to thrive. And to do that, they have to make sure that no one — especially parents — gets in their way.