[Bumped up to Wednesday morning for visibility.]
Illinois moved closer on Tuesday to no longer requiring a parent or other adult family member to be notified before a minor child receives an abortion, as the state Senate approved overturning a 26-year-old law that took nearly two decades to go into effect.
State Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, said the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act and the creation of the youth health and safety working group is a “necessary proposal to move our state forward to protect our young people — often those who cannot protect themselves.”
But one downstate Republican called the measure a slap in the face to families, arguing “this body is being used to take away the rights of parents.”
Along with repealing the parental notice law, the measure Sims sponsored also creates the Youth Health and Safety Act, which establishes the working group to ensure “full and equitable access to reproductive health care for all persons” statewide regardless of such factors as race or ethnicity, immigration status, age, education level or economic means.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 32-22 to repeal the parental notification requirement, with four members of the majority party joining Republicans in opposition. Five other Democrats did not vote.
The proposal, which has the support of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, now goes to the Democratic-controlled House, where its prospects remain uncertain. […]
“This is a necessary proposal to move our state forward to protect our young people, often those who cannot protect themselves,” said Democratic state Sen. Elgie Sims of Chicago, the measure’s sponsor.
Opponents of repeal — largely Republican lawmakers, religious leaders and anti-abortion groups — have sought to frame the debate as one about parental rights rather than about abortion access.
Democrats voting No: Crowe, Cunningham, Joyce, Loughran Cappel.
Democrats not voting: Belt, Cullerton, Harris, Hastings, Landek.
But with a 32-22 tally in favor of repeal, the count fell short of approval of all who make up the Democrats’ 41-18 advantage, showing the reticence among moderate Democrats on a law whose proposed repeal now moves to the House with two days left in the General Assembly’s fall session.
Republicans repeatedly point out that notification has the support of nearly three-quarters of Illinoisans responding to a poll conducted last spring. And they publicized the nearly 50,000 notices of opposition to the legislation that were filed electronically before the vote.
“It’s the most basic human relationship that we know and it is a precious bond for a lifetime, most critical during a young girl’s, a minor’s, formative years….” said Republican Sen. Jil Tracy of Quincy. “We have enough problems in the state without creating more wedges between children and their parents.”
Pro-notice advocates note that the 48-hour alert to a parent or guardian the law requires involves only notification, not consent. According to the Guttmacher Institute, of 38 states requiring parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision, 21 require parental consent — in three of those, both parents must consent.
The repeal’s sponsor, Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago said young people make up less than 10% of abortions in Illinois.
He said there is no legal obligation for parents know of other medical decisions surrounding a pregnancy, such as having the child or getting a C-section.
“The only decision when it relates to pregnancy, the only decision that a parent has to be involved in, is required to be involved in, is if the child choses to have an abortion,” Sims said.
He called the notion raised by critics that repealing the notification law is a slap in the face to parents “offensive.”
* ACLU Illinois…
Tonight’s action by the Illinois Senate to pass the Youth Health and Safety Act HB 370 moves Illinois a step closer to ending enforcement of the dangerous Parental Notice of Abortion Act. The measure approved tonight also helps identify resources for pregnant and parenting youth.
Over the last eight years, we have represented more than 575 young people who have been forced by this law to go to court seeking a judicial bypass because they knew they could not share their abortion decision with any of the designated family members. Ending this barrier for young people in Illinois is critical.
We are especially pleased that a majority of senators saw through the argument that PNA is not about abortion, only about parental “rights.” This is a fallacy. After all, the law only requires that young people share their decision about an abortion, not the decision to parent or place a baby for adoption. This has always been about deterring young people from access to abortion care, and nothing else.
We look forward to this bill moving through the Illinois House and being signed into law by the Governor. Many thanks to chief sponsor Senator Elgie Sims, chief-co-sponsor, Senator Melinda Bush, and all those who voted for the measure. Your leadership will help protect the wellbeing of young people in our state for years to come. This is public policy-making at its best.
* Sen. Rezin…
Senate Republican Deputy Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris) issued the following statement after the Senate passed House Bill 370, which repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion (PNA) Act of 1995 with a 32-22 vote:
“Today’s vote is yet another attack on the rights of parents by the Democrat majority that will deny parents the opportunity to provide their daughters with the help and support that they need during one of the most difficult times in their life.
“By repealing the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle sent a clear message to the parents across the state that they believe parents have no right to know about their child’s health or health care decisions.”
Paprocki predicted Illinois would see “drastically” more abortions if the law is repealed. He joined with other pastors from the Chicago region who traveled to Springfield on a bus to rally against the push to repeal the law.
“The number of minors getting an abortion has gone down since the notification law went into effect,” he said. “Now, isn’t that a good thing?”
Many of the pastors support further restrictions on abortions. Pastor Calvin Lindstrom of Christian Liberty in Arlington Heights said he supports the recent abortion restrictions passed in Texas, and would like to see Illinois move in that direction. “I support it,” Lindstrom said. “I think it could go further to be honest with you.” He said he supports banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
Sen. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, blamed Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, for the repeal.
“Time and time again, this governor has spit in the faces of families in this state,” she said. “He has shown his total and complete disregard for the rights of the family unit, and now he’s at it again, but he’s using this body.”
* Capitol News Illinois…
Emily Werth, a staff attorney at ACLU of Illinois, responded that in Illinois, a minor who is pregnant no longer has to receive parental consent for any medical care. The pregnant minor could undergo a caesarian section, receive a vaccine or get any other medical care without parental notice or consent.
“And that is because the General Assembly has made the policy decision that when a young person is pregnant, it is in their best interests and all of our best interest that they have access to whatever medical care they need, without delay, without being put in harm’s way,” Werth said. “Abortion is one kind of medical care that they may need when they are pregnant. And it should be treated the same as any other kind of medical care.”