Illinois Right to Life demands lawmakers reinstate Parental Notification of Abortion Act

Highly unlikely the Democratic supermajority would allow that to happen
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 3:28 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Illinois democratic lawmakers repealed the Parental Notification of Abortion Act last year and created a working group to help review proposals that impact pregnant minors. Now, anti-abortion leaders say they want the law back.

Illinois Right to Life and other advocates are demanding lawmakers reinstate the PNA. The organization said Tuesday that many voters across the state are upset that Democrats repealed the protection for minors.

“Gov. Pritzker signed a bill that has put the young girls of Illinois and the entire middle of the country, in fact, in danger,” said Amy Gehrke, the Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life.

Advocates said the PNA was a common sense law requiring abortion clinics to notify parents or guardians of a minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion. Gehrke claimed that Pritzker and a majority of Democratic lawmakers believed that girls as young as 11 or 12 could make the “life-altering decision” to have an abortion without their parents knowing.

“Today, there is little doubt that the pro-choice mantra of safe, legal and rare has been replaced with legal no matter what,” said Molly Malone Rumly, a lobbyist with Illinois Right to Life Action. “The pro-abortion industry has made it clear that they are willing to endanger women with their policies in order to sell as many abortions as possible.”

Yet, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action said decades of research and experience showed that forced parental involvement laws hurt young people and served no valid purpose. PPIA Vice President of Public Policy Brigid Leahy said PNA was antiquated, harmful and did not help young people in dangerous situations.

“The truth is the overwhelming majority of young people already voluntarily tell a parent about an unplanned pregnancy,” Leahy said.

Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) is retiring at the end of his current term in January. However, the suburban Republican wants the General Assembly to take a stand for concerned parents in their districts.

“The abortion lobby is very powerful in Springfield,” Morrison said. “They do not tolerate nuance or compromise on this issue, even when their priorities go against popular opinion.”

Although, Leahy stressed that the few young people who do not involve their parents in discussions about abortion usually have valid reasons such as fear of physical or emotional abuse, loss of financial support or even homelessness. She also said that some young people are scared of being forced to give birth against their will or face serious family problems such as a parent who is sick or in prison.

“Young people in Illinois can now continue to involve the people they trust in their health care decisions and are protected from harmful domestic situations and unnecessary judicial interactions,” Leahy explained.

It is also highly unlikely that the Democratic supermajority in Springfield would allow the PNA to be reinstated. The 1995 legislation faced a lengthy court battle and it didn’t take effect until 2013. Gehrke noted that there was bipartisan opposition to the repeal effort last fall. She blames Pritzker for denying parents the right to be involved.

“Clearly, Gov. Pritzker cared more about doing the will of the abortion industry than he did the will of Illinois voters,” Gehrke said. “And clearly the profits of the abortion industry meant more to him than the safety of young girls.”

Emily Werth, staff attorney for the ACLU of Illinois, said on Oct. 28, 2021, that 90% of young girls already let their parents know.

“They don’t need a law to force them to do that,” Werth said. “They do that because that’s right for them and right for their particular circumstances. It’s actually quite right that we focus on the 5-10% who are the ones who are even impacted by and harmed by the existence of this law.”

Sen. Darren Bailey, the Republican candidate for governor, was endorsed by all of the state’s anti-abortion groups earlier this year. The Illinois Federation for Right to Life, Illinois Citizens For Life and Illinois Family Action joined the downstate farmer for the announcement at Trump Tower on April 21. Advocates said Bailey has shown a strong commitment to life and is unafraid to speak about his opinions on abortion.

“They have put together the people, grassroots support and financial resources to make them very viable candidates to win in November, to defeat a radically anti-life incumbent governor JB Pritzker,” said Ralph Rivera, Illinois Right to Life Action chairman.

Bailey has appeared to walk back his previous commitments to repeal abortion protections in Illinois. In fact, the lawmaker said Thursday that Illinois has the most permissive abortion laws in the nation, but nothing would change if he became governor.

“I couldn’t change them if I could,” Bailey said.

The Pritzker campaign said Bailey would spell disaster for women’s rights in Illinois.

“On day one, Bailey would enact a radical agenda that strips women of their right to choose and criminalizes doctors for providing essential health care,” said Pritzker campaign spokesperson Eliza Glezer. “We won’t allow him to get anywhere near the governor’s office.”

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.