As the March 17 primary Election Day in Illinois draws near, so does the expected challenge of keeping Illinois’ parental notice of abortion law in place.
News of an attempt to repeal the current law has been quiet so far during the spring legislative session. Several state lawmakers have opponents in the primary election, so most controversial legislation has been held at bay, allowing incumbent legislators to devote energy to their campaigns.
The mood is expected to change after March 17, and we will be prepared. The Catholic Conference of Illinois is partnering with the six dioceses in the state to offer Life Advocacy Days, allowing pro-life pilgrims to travel to the Illinois Capitol to lobby their lawmakers on the benefits of the current law.
The current law requires only that a parent or legal guardian be notified when a minor seeks an abortion. It does not require consent. The law also provides for exceptions and includes a judicial waiver for those children who have been physically or sexually abused.
Every state bordering Illinois – Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Iowa – require at least parental notification. The Illinois Supreme Court (unanimously) and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals have both found the law to be constitutional.
Three advocacy days will be offered in March and April, with two dioceses teaming up for each day. Since the schedule of events will vary with each day, please contact your diocesan Respect Life office on how to sign up for its trip to Springfield.
Last year, Senate Bill 1594, which repeals the current parental notice law, easily passed the Senate Public Health Committee but was never called for a vote on the Senate floor. SB 1594 is currently in the Assignments Committee, which is where all Senate bills start.However, SB 1594 can pop out onto the Senate floor at any time.
House Bill 2467 also calls for the repeal of parental notice and is currently in the House Rules Committee, which is where all House bills start. It could be assigned to a committee to be heard at any time.
However, practically any bill can be amended at a moment’s notice to contain any language.