Illinois judge lifts restraining order on pre-abortion parental notification law

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Map showing which states require parental notification.

██ No parental notification or consent laws

██ One parent must be informed beforehand

██ Both parents must be informed beforehand

██ One parent must consent beforehand

██ Both parents must consent beforehand

██ Parental notification law currently enjoined

██ Parental consent law currently enjoined

A Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court judge has lifted a temporary restraining order on a law that requires a girl's parents to be notified before she has an abortion. In a complicated ruling, however, the judge also issued an order banning state officials from enforcing the law pending an appeal. 

The law, which was passed by the Illinois legislature in 1995, has never been enforced due to appeals. Last November, the Illinois medical disciplinary board allowed the law to be enforced, but hours later Judge Daniel A. Riley granted a temporary restraining order filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois.

When Judge Riley issued another ruling yesterday, he said the ACLU lawsuit was flawed, finding the law itself to be constitutional. He added, however, that "the law in question is a rather unfortunate piece of legislation" that is inherently discriminatory against pregnant minors. 

ACLU lawyers plan to file an appeal, which Judge Riley will rule on with a new restraining order in place. They argue that the law is an invasion of privacy and dangerous to minors who live in an abusive environment. The Illinois Attorney General's office is defending the law, saying that parents should be able to give their children advice on complicated matters.