Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion
Illinois law restricts young women's access to abortion services by mandating parental notice.
Illinois law restricts young women's access to abortion.
Is the law enforceable? No. On July 15, 2009 a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court lifted an injunction blocking the enforcement of Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 that requires parental notification 48 hours before minors can receive abortion care. On August 5, 2009 the state Medical Disciplinary Board, the agency responsible for enforcement, was granted a 90-day moratorium to allow medical staffs to become familiar with the requirements of the law. On November 4, 2009 as the moratorium was set to expire, a state-court judge issued a temporary restraining order that will remain operational until arguments are heard. The Illinois General Assembly originally passed the law in 1984 and revised it in 1995. A federal court held that the law was unenforceable because the Illinois Supreme Court had previously refused to promulgate rules concerning the judicial-waiver procedure. Zbaraz v. Ryan, No. 84 C 771 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 1996). In September 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted a new rule creating a judicial-bypass procedure; however in February 2008, the court declined to lift the permanent injunction and found the law unconstitutional. The Hope Clinic for Women LTD v. Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Board (IL Ct. Cook County 2009); Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 303A; Zbaraz v. Madigan, No. 84 C 771, slip op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2008), appeal docketed, No. 08-1620 (7th Cir. Mar. 14, 2008); Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act § 750 ILCS 70/1.
Who is considered a minor? A young woman under the age of 18 who has never been married and is not emancipated under state law.
What is required - parental consent or parental notice? Notice.
Who must be notified? One parent.
Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead? Yes, the physician may notify a grandparent or legal guardian, or a step-parent living in the house, provided that person is over 21 years of age.
What is the process for providing notification? A young woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 48 hours actual notice has been given in person or by telephone to a parent, grandparent, or step-parent living in the household. If actual notice is not possible after a reasonable effort, 48-hour constructive notice by certified mail must be given. If notice is given by certified mail, the 48-hour period begins at the time of the mailing. Parental notice is not required if the pregnant woman is accompanied by a parent, grandparent or step-parent, or if notice is waived in writing by the person entitled to notice.
May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest? Yes, if the young woman declares in writing that she is a victim of sexual abuse by a parent, grandparent, or step-parent.
May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse? Yes, if the young woman declares in writing that she is a victim of physical abuse or neglect by a parent, grandparent, or step-parent.
May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened? Yes, but only if the attending physician certifies that a medical emergency exists. A medical emergency is defined as a medical condition that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve the woman's life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function."
May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances? Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.
If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process? She must secure a court order stating either that she is sufficiently mature and well informed enough to make her own decision or that notice is not in her best interest.
Are there other significant requirements under the law? No.
Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law? Yes. In 1996, the Illinois district court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of the state's parental-notification law because of deficiencies in the judicial-bypass procedure, but did not reach any constitutional issues. Zbaraz v. Ryan, No. 84 C 771 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 1996). Upon review in 2008, however, the Illinois district court found the statute unconstitutional on its face because it lacks language permiting a state court to authorize the consent for abortion. On July 15, 2009, the Seventh Circuit said that the measure was "a permissible attempt to help a young woman make an informed choice about whether to have an abortion." Zbaraz v. Madigan, No. 84 C 771, slip op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2008), appeal docketed, No. 08-1620 (7th Cir. July 15, 2008).
Other information about the law: None.
750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 70/1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 (Enacted 1995).