Illinois Supreme Court
10:46 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Abortion Notice Law Finally Going Into Effect

Illinois Supreme Court
The bench of the Illinois Supreme Court in Springfield.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a law that requires young women to notify their parents before getting an abortion. The decision ends a legal fight that goes all the way back to the 1990s.

For the first time since the law passed nearly two decades ago, women 17 and younger who want to have an abortion will have to get their parents' permission.

Illinois' parental-notification law was passed in 1995, during a brief period when Republicans won control of the Illinois House.

It's been the subject of state and federal court battles off-and-on since then, and the Illinois Supreme Court was the last stop.

The federal courts have approved parental notification laws in the past, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois argued the Illinois Constitution afforded greater protections.

The justices disagreed.

"We as a state have turned our backs on the young women who will be harmed by the statute," says ACLU lawyer Lorie Chaiten. "You know, again, we're going to do everything in our power to try to protect the young women of the state."

Chaiten says the law will finally take effect on Aug. 15, and in the short term, the ACLU is focused on counseling young women as to their options. But in the long term, the ACLU could try to get the legislature — now solidly under the control of Democrats — to revisit the law.