The Observer—Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford
Publication date: March 2, 2007
By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Director, Respect Life Office
“With a pro-choice governor, a Legislature controlled by the Democratic Party and a branch of the American Civil Liberties Union that has successfully challenged every attempt to place legal limits on abortion in Illinois, things are not likely to change soon, at least for women 18 or older . . . [b]ut for teens, the outlook is less certain.” So writes Cindy Richards in her February 14, 2007 column in the Chicago Sun Times. Richards was reacting to recent action by Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, setting into motion the process of lifting the long-standing injunction on the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995. This law has never been enforced due to the refusal of the Illinois Supreme Court to promulgate the “rules” for judicial bypass. Responding to a formal request, the Court finally issued the rules in September 2006.
As expected, the Court’s action was enough to strike fear in those abortion advocates who cannot accept any restrictions —no matter how reasonable—on the so-called “right” to abortion. They are so afraid of losing unbridled access to abortion that they are now pulling out all stops to ensure that parents have no right to be told that their minor daughter is seeking an abortion.
Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago)—with support and encouragement from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU— introduced the Adolescent Health Care Safety Act (now HB 317) on October 2, 2006. This bill specifically states it “repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995.”
Fritchey, in a news release, writes “I would hope that my colleagues, regardless of their position on abortion, would have faith in family, clergy and medical professionals to give responsible counseling to a young woman seeking advice about her pregnancy.” No, Mr. Fritchey, those of us who truly care for the welfare of young girls do not have faith in the “family” you describe in HB 317, or the “clergy” who function as pseudo-chaplains at abortion mills, or abortionists and their staff.
In writing about working “closely” with Fritchey on HB 317, Planned Parenthood admits the bill “will expand parental notification to include other adults such as older siblings, aunts/uncles, and members of the clergy, among others. If a teen is unable to notify one of those adults the bill allows for her—instead of going in front of a judge in an intimidating legal system—to receive counseling from a trained health professional such as a licensed nurse, social worker, or member of the clergy.”
There you have it. If HB 317 passes, there will be no change in the status quo. A 12-year-old girl will still be able to procure an abortion without her parent’s knowledge.
Under the 1995 law, parents will not be required to give consent, but at least they will be made aware of what their daughter is planning and hopefully they will be able to lead her to life affirming choices that would be in her and her baby’s best interest. Under HB 317, parents will be left totally in the dark.
Illinois Governor Blagojevich has made it clear he thinks girls under the age of 18 are capable of making a decision for abortion and yet when it comes to tattoos he says, “At that age , most kids . . . don’t have the judgment or perspective to decide on something as permanent as tattooing your skin. Teenagers may not realize getting a tattoo is a decision they'll live with, and potentially regret for the rest of their lives.” He favors denying parents even knowing their minor daughter is seeking an abortion and yet he vetoed a bill that lowered the age (even with parental permission) for tattoos from 21 to 18.
Forty-four states have passed some form of parental involvement laws with regard to abortion for minor girls. Yet, in Illinois, abortion advocates continue to work to prevent parents from even knowing about the planned killing of their grandchildren and the possible consequences to their daughters. This is totally unreasonable and it is time for parents to stand up for their rights.