A Promising First Step in Protecting Illinois Teenagers' Health and Safety

In a legal challenge brought by the ACLU, an Illinois state court yesterday issued an emergency order blocking a law that prevents teens from having an abortion unless they notify a parent or go to court. This victory ensures that teens throughout Illinois will continue to be safe and able to obtain the care that they need.

The truth is that most teens already turn to their parents when facing a pregnancy. This is what any of us would want as parents. Make no mistake: If enforced, this unconstitutional law would change nothing for those teens. Instead, the law endangers teenagers from dysfunctional families — those who face physical and emotional abuse, homelessness, and forced childbirth, among other things, if they tell their parents about their pregnancies.

The stories the ACLU submitted to the court make this point all too well:

  • One young woman described how her parents responded when her older sister became pregnant. Upon learning of the pregnancy, the father beat the older sister and threw her out of the house with all of her belongings. He then ordered the younger siblings to take the discarded things to a dumpster and demanded that they never speak to their sister again. Four years later, this young woman and her family still knew nothing of the sister's whereabouts.
     
  • Other young women tell of being emotionally abused or beaten when their parents learn they are pregnant; some were involuntarily sent to live in another country to prevent them from having an abortion; and others were forced to give birth and become mothers against their will.

Proponents of parental notice laws acknowledge, as they must, that these kinds of situations exist, and that it would be unlawful to allow a parent to overrule a young woman's right to decide whether and when to become a parent herself. Instead they point to the judicial bypass, which allows a teen to go to court in lieu of talking to her parents. But what kind of alternative is it to ask a pregnant teenager, one who is already feeling quite vulnerable, to find a lawyer, navigate an unfamiliar court system, and reveal the most intimate details of her life to a judge, a complete stranger. For many, especially those who are afraid or ashamed of revealing the abuse they experience at home, going to court is simply not an option.

Indeed, Jamie Sabino — a lawyer who has worked with minors seeking judicial bypasses in Massachusetts for more than 25 years — has many troubling stories to tell about the bypass process: One teen was at the courthouse for a bypass hearing when her sister's class came through on a field trip. Another ran into her father outside the courthouse. One young woman successfully went through her bypass hearing; however days later, an anti-abortion group sent her parents a letter informing them that she had done so. They had monitored the courthouse and identified her from a school yearbook picture.

Although promising, yesterday's injunction is only a first step. We will continue to fight this law in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, instead of enforcing laws that do more harm than good, let's start talking to our daughters and sons about making responsible and healthy decisions about sexuality; let's help parents and teens communicate; and let's ensure that every teen has a caring adult they can turn to for advice and support no matter what life challenges they may face.

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Steve

I see this as nothing but a major victory for those who need to keep the money flowing in the abortion business. The above article only cited two cases of parental abuse, when the majority of parents would be supportive of their child. What the ACLU, N.O.W, Planned parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations fear is that the parents would convince their daughter to go through with the preganancy, thus there would be no money pouring into their coffers. I'm reminded of a story from Fox News about a lady who was a Planned Parenthood director down in Texas who quit after witnessing an abortion on a C.A.T scan. She also was disgusted by the fact that she was pressured into pushing as many abortions as possible to keep the money coming in. Those in the ACLU would shoot up a school-yard full of children if it meant more money for your organization. You in the ACLU are as greedy as the corporate giants you decry.

Steve

I see this as nothing but a major victory for those who need to keep the money flowing in the abortion business. The above article only cited two cases of parental abuse, when the majority of parents would be supportive of their child. What the ACLU, N.O.W, Planned parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations fear is that the parents would convince their daughter to go through with the preganancy, thus there would be no money pouring into their coffers. I'm reminded of a story from Fox News about a lady who was a Planned Parenthood director down in Texas who quit after witnessing an abortion on a C.A.T scan. She also was disgusted by the fact that she was pressured into pushing as many abortions as possible to keep the money coming in. Those in the ACLU would shoot up a school-yard full of children if it meant more money for your organization. You in the ACLU are as greedy as the corporate giants you decry.

Steve

I see this as nothing but a major victory for those who need to keep the money flowing in the abortion business. The above article only cited two cases of parental abuse, when the majority of parents would be supportive of their child. What the ACLU, N.O.W, Planned parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations fear is that the parents would convince their daughter to go through with the preganancy, thus there would be no money pouring into their coffers. I'm reminded of a story from Fox News about a lady who was a Planned Parenthood director down in Texas who quit after witnessing an abortion on a C.A.T scan. She also was disgusted by the fact that she was pressured into pushing as many abortions as possible to keep the money coming in. Those in the ACLU would shoot up a school-yard full of children if it meant more money for your organization. You in the ACLU are as greedy as the corporate giants you decry.

Anika

We are surrounded with nation stress, economic inflation, political, crime and the likes. Another area that's been hit hard by the recession is universities, as it's getting harder for students to fund college. Since trying to fund college isn't easy to begin with at state schools, private schools are a veritable nightmare – and it's leading many institutions to revise college admission policy, and with shrinking endowments there's less aid to go around. Some students are able to cope with costs with part time jobs, but if you $20,000 a semester in tuition, you'd have to work part time as a stock broker to dent the bills. Some students can still get personal loans to fund college, but it's getting harder – maybe some universities should cancel football programs – and put it towards real students.

Christopher, th...

The end of abortion in over. Here's the Solution: Science has determined when a person is dead. Science has determined when a person is alive. Human Life starts when the fetus has brain wave activity, around 6 - 8 weeks. So, if a fetus is terminated before the 6 - 8 week time frame, they are only destroying Human Lifeless cells, but on the other hand, if a fetus is terminated after the 6 - 8 week time frame, that is murder.
Simple enough? It should be. Let's get on with more important Human activities than the now solved abortion debate.
Peace be with You.
Christopher, the Christ bearer

Maggie

You keep saying a young woman. What if the young woman is 12? What if there are complications performing this abortion? Is the parent then allowed to be notified? I am usually pro choice however after reading information in these blogs, I am beginning to change my mind.

david

so, let's see: a child can't even get an aspirin without parental consent, but you think they should be able to receive major medical treatment that could kill them?

and how about the thirteen year old girl that has been abused by an older man, who then takes her to an abortion mill to hide his crime? the parental notification laws are there to protect the girls from this kind of harm.

Charlse Jordan

I am a big supporter of not only human rights but for females rights. This includes there health. Any female should have the right to choice for herself if abortion is right for her and do so regardless of parent approval!

Anonymous

Uh Maggie, abortion is WAY safer for a 12-year-old than giving birth. A leading cause of death to girls worldwide is child birth precisely because bodies at that age just can't handle the pressures of child birth.

The amount of woman-hating going on in the comments section is ridiculous, replete with the "abortion industry" bullshit (uh Steve, NOW and ACLU don't get money from abortions). What part of "the woman gets to choose" don't you people seem to understand? For you, it's either the anti-choicers or the abortion providers getting to control women. Just because we have lady-parts does not mean we can't make decisions for ourselves.

Paen

I think that the existence of sickos like Steve who advocate the use of violence against children is the best argument possible against parental notification.

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