Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed legislation repealing a law that required a parent or other adult family member be notified before a minor receives an abortion, calling the move “essential” for protecting the “most vulnerable pregnant minors who were punished by this law.”
Along with overturning the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, the legislation signed by the governor Friday also creates an advisory group for youth health and safety issues which will identify laws and policies that affect parenting and pregnant people under 18.
In a statement, Pritzker said reproductive rights are under attack across the nation and, with the repeal of the notification act, Illinois “is once again establishing itself as a leader in ensuring access to health care services.”
“This repeal was essential because it was the most vulnerable pregnant minors who were punished by this law: victims of rape and physical abuse in unsafe homes,” Pritzker said. “I’m proud that Illinois continues to be a national leader in protecting reproductive rights.”
The General Assembly passed the Parental Notice of Abortion Act in 1995, but it didn’t go into effect until 2013 due to legal challenges. That law is repealed as of June 1, 2022.
Legislators took up repealing the act in October, with state Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, calling the notification law “the last anti-abortion law that we have on our books.” She and others disputed claims that repealing the law would lead to trafficking of minors or an increase in those rates, which was a common argument from Republicans.
Before the vote in the House, state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, said a vote for the repeal is not just “failing girls — it’s failing good parents.”
On Friday, Bourne said in a statement, “This significant change in our law is out of touch with a majority of Illinoisans and puts girls in Illinois — and across the Midwest — in danger. Parents deserve the right to know if their minor child is seeking any major medical procedure. ... Instead, today the Democrat majority has chosen to recklessly push those rights to the wayside.”
Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, said “parents matter” and the legislation signed into law Friday “declares they don’t.”
“This is just another example of the governor’s overreach into the lives of Illinois families to remind them that he, rather than they, knows what is best for their kids,” the Senate Republican leader’s statement continued.
On Friday, Moeller and other legislators who helped shepherd the bill through the Legislature applauded the repeal.
“With reproductive rights under attack around the country, today we are once again affirming that in Illinois, access to reproductive health care will be available to those who need it,” Moeller said in a statement. “With the signing of the Youth Health and Safety Act, we are protecting the most vulnerable young people in our state — young people who live in such dangerous family situations that they fear abuse, homelessness or forced pregnancy and marriage when they face an unplanned pregnancy and need to access reproductive health care.”
State Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, said in a statement the current law “causes harm by placing barriers to care for young women in unsafe family situations.”
“Personal decisions about reproductive health care will now rightfully be up to individuals and their health care providers,” his statement continued.