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Parental Notice of Abortion Act and What It Means For Young Women in Illinois

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which risks the health and safety of young Latinas and other women across the State of Illinois. We are concerned about the young women who live in abusive households and could face physical or emotional violence or homelessness as a result of notifying their parents.

Read more about the act and comment below if you have any questions.

What is the Parental Notice of Abortion Act?

The Parental Notice of Abortion Act requires doctors to notify parents or guardians of girls younger than 17 who seek an abortion.  They would notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor except in cases of a medical emergency, sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse. To gain access to an abortion, a young woman must now receive “judicial bypass,” where she must go to court and ask for a judge’s permission to have an abortion without notifying a parent.

Why is Parental Notice a problem?

Parental Notice ignores the realities of life for many teens. Young women are very likely to tell a parent or a trusted relative about an unplanned pregnancy. When a teen does not tell a parent, there are often reasons including fear of physical or emotional abuse, homelessness, and fear of being forced to bear a child against their will.

Parental Notice legislation will increase barriers to accessing safe and legal abortions. It will increase delays in accessing procedures, promote unsafe abortions, put adolescents in dangerous situations, and fail to preserve young women’s rights. 

How is a parent notified?

The health care professional has to notify one of the parents in person or by phone and wait 48 hours before performing the procedure. If a parent cannot be reached, then the health care professional needs to send a registered letter and wait 48 hours upon the receipt of the letter.

If the teen signed a waiver because she has abusive or neglectful parents (and doesn’t want to notify them) then the health care provider will send a report to DCFS.

What is a Judicial Bypass and how can a teen get one?

The Judicial Bypass is a process where a teen goes in front of a judge to prove that she is mature enough to make the decision or that she has a parent that will be abusive if they learn about the pregnancy and abortion. If no ruling is made in 48 hours, the health care professional will be granted the right to perform the procedure.

This is a free and confidential process. The case will be filed under “Jane Doe” and the court proceedings will not be open to the public. The teen must be present even if a lawyer is representing her.

When does this law go into effect?

The Parental Notice becomes effective August 15, 2013.

What is Mujeres doing?

Mujeres is working to educate young girls and the community at large about the law by giving presentations and providing materials. We are also working with the ACLU of Illinois to find and train as many lawyers about the bypass as possible so that they can do this work throughout the state.

To get in contact with someone from Mujeres, please call Ana Soto or Neusa Gaytan at 773.890.7676.

July 19, 2013 | 2:19 PM