Illinois courts and doctors are ill-prepared to comply with a new state law requiring parents to be notified when their daughters under age 18 are seeking an abortion, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The law requires a doctor to provide at least 48 hours' notice to adult family members of a pregnant girl's intention to have an abortion.
The notice can be waived if a judge rules it wouldn't be in the girl's best interest for her parents to know.
But two weeks before the law and its judicial bypass provision are set to take effect on Aug. 4, the state courts don't have forms an underage pregnant girl can fill out to request a hearing. And procedures dictating how such requests will be handled within the required time frame of 48 hours and guarantee the absolute privacy that's also required have yet to be established, according to Lorie Chaiten, director of the reproductive rights project for ACLU of Illinois.
"Our fear is this will go into effect Aug. 4, and who will be hurt will be the young women," she said.
Champaign County Judge Harry Clem said the court is always prepared to hear an emergency petition, but a call to the Champaign County circuit clerk's office offered no answers about how a girl would go about bringing such a petition to the court.
"We haven't been given any information about how it's going to work in the courts," Champaign Circuit Clerk Linda Frank said.
The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act was passed in 1995, but has been on hold for more than a decade since a U.S. district court prohibited it from being enforced on the grounds that the state Supreme Court declined to issue rules to put the law in effect. Since 1995, more than 50,000 Illinois minors have had abortions and more than 4,000 of them were age 14 or younger, according to the Thomas More Society, which has worked to get the notification law enforced.
The high court adopted rules in 2006, and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a petition for the federal injunction to be lifted and the law to take effect as soon as Illinois courts were prepared to handle judicial bypass petitions. A federal appeals court in Chicago upheld the notification act July 14.... Full story
(Thanks to Dan for the heads up)