Illinois' parental notification law – over minors who want to get abortions – has not been enforced since it was passed in 1995. That’s going to change in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling Thursday. While she is disappointed, Pam Sutherland, Planned Parenthood of Illinois vice president for public policy and education, says she hopes fewer teenagers are getting pregnant anyway.
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“We’ve found that it’s long-acting, reversible contraceptives that are” reducing pregnancy rates, she says, adding recently passed laws for more thorough sex education could push them down more. Sutherland says Planned Parenthood has always encouraged girls to consult with parents or other adult loved ones.
A law firm which advocates anti-abortion positions, Chicago-based Thomas More Society, says girls from troubled homes can turn to a judge for permission. “If there is some sort of abuse situation, that will then allow the legal process to get involved right away to protect that child,” says Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel. “We’ve seen too many cases where sexual predators impregnate a young woman, and then that young woman is brought to an abortion clinic in Illinois, and the evidence is destroyed.”
Sutherland says she’s disappointed the Illinois Supreme Court didn’t at least send the issue to a lower court for debate. She blames Justice Bob Thomas for resurrecting the issue during his term as chief.
The law applies to girls under 18. It requires doctors to notify the girl’s parents 48 hours before an abortion.