While attention was focused elsewhere last week, the repeal of an act in Illinois went into effect, allowing pregnant minors to procure an abortion without needing to notify their parents or guardians.
The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act, penned in 1995 and instituted in 2013, simply required pregnant, underage girls to inform their parents before going through with the abortion — though there were ways to get around that requirement through a judicial bypass.
But since the Youth Health and Safety Act was voted in last fall and signed into law in December, the “parental notification” requirement was repealed.
One of the main arguments for its repeal was the need to protect underage victims of abuse, as notifying parents could lead to further abuse, homelessness and other issues. But as Amy Gehrke, the executive director of Illinois Right to Life, pointed out, the Parental Notice of Abortion Act already allowed for that with the judicial bypass.
There were also other ways the repealed act provided options for protecting victims of abuse, which led Gehrke to conclude that the change was “more about ‘placating the abortion industry than the will of their constituents,'” according to the Christian Post.
She also pointed out that this law was not changed in the interest of Illinois voters, as 72 percent of Illinois voters wanted to keep the current law in place — including a surprising 58 percent of voters who identified themselves as pro-choice.
While there certainly may be cases of abuse that complicate the already complicated issue, the PNA law already allowed for handling those cases differently. Gehrke says the real difference is that the repeal of this law mostly prevents caring parents from being involved in a crucial issue in their children’s lives.
(WAND) – The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act has now been repealed. A new measure taking affect Wednesday, HB-370, the Youth and Health Safety Act, ends the PNA law that required a minor seeking abortion care to notify a designated family m… https://t.co/GZ3dayD6Uh
— WAND TV News (@wandtvnews) June 1, 2022
“Gov. [J.B.] Pritzker has told the parents of Illinois that they don’t matter and has completely trampled on their rights to be involved in the health decisions of their minor daughters,” Gehrke told the Christian Post.
“We know that human traffickers and other sexual predators often cover their crimes with abortion. And our Legislature, along with Gov. Pritzker, has given these abusers carte blanche to continue abusing our girls.”
In an article she wrote for Newsweek, Gehrke went on at length to point out just how quiet, underhanded and intentional the governor and supporters of the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act were.
“Without the PNA law, Illinois abortion providers are no longer required to tell parents or guardians if their minor daughters, aged 17 and younger, are brought to them for an abortion,” she wrote. “The law did not require parental consent for such abortions — only that parents be notified at least 48 hours beforehand.”
The Illinois Right to Life Facebook page also shared a post stating that currently, in the state of Illinois, while an underage girl does not need to notify her parents to get an abortion, she does need a parent present in order to view the pro-life movie “Unplanned” at a theater.
“Something is wrong with this logic,” the post states.
Our friend, Amy Gehrke, the Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life, writes an excellent op-ed on the dangers of Illinois repealing the #prolife Parental Notice of Abortion law. @ILRight2Life @AmyCGehrke1 https://t.co/Qm7mxL01Pb
— Society of St. Sebastian (@socofstseb) June 7, 2022
“So now, in Illinois, minor girls cannot get their ears pierced or go on a school field trip without their parents’ consent, but they can obtain abortions without their parents even being notified,” Gehrke wrote.
Now, Gehrke argues, the change means less physical and emotional care for the girls themselves, more secrecy and dishonesty in families and the only ones who will know about the abortions are “sexual predators, human traffickers or teenage boys” who pressure minors into getting abortions.
To top it all off, because of how quietly and swiftly the new bill and repeal were handled, many parents in Illinois are not aware of the change in legislation.
Parents in surrounding states may not realize this affects them, too, as their children could travel across state lines to get an abortion without being required to notify them — so the first step in making a change is to spread the word.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.