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Illinois lawmakers seek to repeal parental abortion notifications

CHICAGO (WEEK) — A group of Illinois lawmakers will seek to repeal a bill requiring minors to notify their parents of their decision to get an abortion.

State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), state Sen. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Emmanuel ‘Chris’ Welch (D-Chicago), along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Planned Parenthood of Illinois, are backing a pair of bills they argue will modernize Illinois law on abortion.

“As a father of two young daughters, I want my daughters to come to her parents for anything – good or bad, anytime,” said Sen. Sims, the lead sponsor in the Illinois Senate on the effort to repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion law. “Laws don’t change family dynamics. This failed measure only forces minors who cannot share their decision to terminate a pregnancy to risk harm by notifying a family member, or tell a stranger (a judge) their most intimate secrets.”

“It never made sense to me that a minor can make other decisions – about carrying a pregnancy to term, about adoption, about sophisticated health care – without parental notification, but only if she seeks an abortion do we require this communication,” said Rep. Welch, who is sponsoring the bill in the Illinois House. “We cannot pretend as elected officials that we can force ourselves into these situations because some disagree with a minor’s decision about their life.”

The lawmakers argue that minors tell their parents or guardians about their decision to get an abortion, and likely have a good reason if they decide not to tell.

Another bill would repeal the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975, which imposes criminal penalties on doctors who perform abortions. Most of the bill has been blocked by the courts and is not currently enforced. Other measures would block a ban on partial birth abortion, remove some regulations on health clinics performing abortions, and lift disciplinary penalties aimed at doctors providing abortions and other reproductive care.

The bills would also require private insurance plans to cover abortions on the same basis as contraception, fertility and maternity care.

“For more than four decades, individuals across Illinois have lived with laws controlling their access to reproductive health care that are either unconstitutional or cruel,” said Colleen K. Connell, executive director of the ACLU of Illinois. “It is time to modernize and fix this approach. We applaud these thoughtful sponsors for bringing forward these proposals for discussion now.  It is time for this discussion in our state.”

Illinois Right to Life blasted the proposals.

“The bills that will be introduced this week are consistent with pro-abortion bills that we have seen across the country, and are part of a national attempt to solidify abortion access in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned,” said Illinois Right to Life Executive Director Mary Kate Knorr. “To be frank, these legislators are over-playing their hand. This legislation is extreme and polling over many years has shown very clearly that such legislation is unpopular with the American people. If legislators support this, there will be consequences come 2020 elections.”

Tim Shelley

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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