An Illinois law requiring 48 hours’ notice to an adult family member before a girl under age 18 can have an abortion was upheld by the state Supreme Court.
The law, which includes exceptions for emergencies, abuse and minors accompanied by people entitled to the notice, was passed by the Legislature in 1995 and has been subject to state and federal court litigation since.
“We find that while a minor clearly has an expectation of privacy in her medical information, which includes the fact of her pregnancy, the intrusion on the minor’s privacy occasioned by the act is not unreasonable,” Associate Justice Anne M. Burke wrote for the court’s majority opinion.
Three other members of the panel concurred separately. The ruling reverses an intermediate appellate court decision and reinstates a trial court ruling dismissing the case.
The state has an interest in ensuring that girls under 18 are “sufficiently mature and well informed to make the difficult decision whether to have an abortion,” and that it’s reasonable for the state to encourage a minor to seek support of an adult or prove her maturity by obtaining a judicial waiver. through that confidential process.
A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled in 2009 that the 2006 creation of an expedited judicial bypass procedure made the law constitutional. Litigation was renewed in state court later that year in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Lorie Chaiten, Reproductive Rights Project director for the ACLU in Illinois, said the court’s decision relied upon “outdated ideological and unsupported assumptions about the purported harms of abortion.”
“Most young women seek out the guidance of a parent or trusted adult when making the decision to terminate a pregnancy,” Chaiten said today in a press statement. “Those who don’t choose not to for good reason,” including the risk of physical and emotional abuse, being kicked out of their home or being forced to carry the child to term against their will.
The measure does not take effect for 35 days, Chaiten said.
The case is Hope Clinic for Women Ltd. v. Flores, 2013IL112673, Illinois Supreme Court (Springfield).
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