SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) – The Illinois House voted 62-51 Wednesday night to repeal a 1995 law that requires doctors to notify parents when teenage girls 17 and under request an abortion.
Representative Anna Moeller (D-Elgin), the main sponsor of the proposal, described the Parental Notification Act as “the last anti-abortion law we have in effect in Illinois.” Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), who sponsored the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, described the current notification law as a “gaping hole” in the state’s “firewall” to protect reproductive health .
Illinois Democrats have sought to respond to recent abortion restrictions enacted in Texas. This law, which is being challenged in the United States Supreme Court, prohibits abortion after a heartbeat is detected, about six weeks after the onset of pregnancy and before most women know they are pregnant. .
“Anti-abortion politicians across the country are seeking to restrict our access to abortion for everyone,” Cassidy said during the indoor debate. “They literally want to force all of us to carry every pregnancy to term, no matter what happens, no matter what the risk to our lives. Illinois is different and it will stay that way, and we will finish the job today by closing the loophole in our firewall.
Democrats, who hold qualified majorities in both the House and Senate, barely got enough votes to repeal the law and are now ready to send it to Gov. JB Pritzker’s office. He signaled he would sign it.
Pro-choice advocates who sponsored the measure said the current law has already forced more than 500 vulnerable pregnant teens from unsafe homes to bear an “unfair and dangerous burden” of going through legal proceedings to seek a waiver of the law. on the notification since it started. in force in 2013.
“It is not a simple and minor bureaucratic process,” Moeller said on the floor of the House. “This implies that a young woman herself hires a lawyer to set a court date; find a way to get to court by standing in front of a judge in a courtroom that is usually the site of criminal activity; explain why she is pregnant; explaining why she needs an abortion and why she cannot go to her parents to let them know about it.
Republicans and religious leaders have expressed strong objections to the repeal of the law, arguing that current notification requirements protect minors from abuse and human trafficking.
Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) said the repeal of the notification law “would further advance the criminal enterprise by emboldening pimps, traffickers, those who rape and sexually assault and exploit these children.”
Moeller called these and other warnings “misleading and hyperbolic”.
Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) said other state laws require teens to obtain parental consent to get a tattoo or piercing, take a field trip or take a Tylenol to school.
“Nobody out there wants to talk about the things you can do without contacting a parent,” Cassidy replied. “You can get pregnant, you can stay pregnant, you can give birth, you can have a cesarean, you can give a child up for adoption, all without anyone ever calling your parents.”
Fighting back tears, Bourne said parents “deserve to know if their daughter is considering an abortion.”
“This law was put in place to prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, outright,” Moeller replied. “That was it. But now he’s wrapped up in this deceptive hyperbole about parents. It’s fictional.
If the governor signs the repeal, it will come into force on June 1, 2022 because the bill does not include an effective date.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that the working group created in the measure is repealed in 2024, while the repeal of the law on parental advice can take place on June 1, 2022.