What's at stake
- Parents’ right to be informed of and able to participate in their minor daughter’s decision to have an abortion
In 1995, the Illinois legislature passed the Parental Notice of Abortion Act with the goal of protecting young women. The Act required that the parents of a minor be notified before an abortion was done on their daughter.
The American Civil Liberties Union claimed that the Act was unconstitutional, and kept it from being enforced by entangling it in litigation for nearly two decades. During that time, Illinois became the only state in the Midwest that did not require notification for the parents of minors. The result was that the state became a haven for secret abortions on young women.
In 2010, an Illinois District Court upheld the law and dismissed the ACLU’s challenge. The ACLU appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In July 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law, finding that it is constitutional and allowing it to finally be enforced.
“The well-being of young women is more important than an abortionist’s bottom line,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “All this law has sought to do since 1995 is to uphold the duty and desire of parents to protect their own children rather than allow them to be taken advantage of by others. As the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously found, the law constitutionally encourages ‘an unmarried, pregnant minor to seek the help and advice of a parent or other adult family member in making the very important decision whether or not to bear a child.’ The ACLU kept this law from protecting women for more than 17 years, but that is now over.”
Our role in this case
Alliance Defending Freedom and its allied attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Illinois Supreme Court urging it to protect the young women of Illinois by upholding the law.