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Battle Over IL Parental Notification Law Draws National Audience

February 15, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The characters in Illinois politics have a long history of gaining national media attention, but this time, it's a controversial abortion case that has shoved the state into a national spotlight once again. The lawsuit by the ACLU challenging the constitutionality of Illinois' parental notification law recently hit the Huffington Post. More than 30 states have some form of parental notification or consent laws, and all could come under fire if the Illinois law is overturned.

Lorie Chaiten, director of the ACLU Reproductive Rights Project, says the law puts some underage girls in harm's way by requiring doctors to inform a parent 48 hours before an abortion takes place.

"For those young women who don't feel safe telling a parent, what the research shows is that, where they're forced to do so anyway, they are the ones who are most likely to suffer very serious and irreversible consequences."

Chaiten believes the law is unenforceable, because it poses a risk to a young woman's safety and health rights.

"We believe that we can demonstrate that the harm is irreversible, it is irreparable, and that it infringes significantly on the kinds of protections that Illinois provides in its Constitution."

Supporters of the law say it provides enough protection for teens because it does not require parental consent in cases of sexual abuse or medical emergency. The law also allows minors to take their case to a judge if they feel parental notification will put them in danger. The courts have placed a temporary ban on the law while the case is being heard.

Aricka Flowers, Public News Service - IL