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Illinois lawmakers repeal parental notification law for abortions

If Governor J.B. Pritzker signs off on the Youth Health and Safety Act, Illinois minors won't have to notify a parent to get an abortion.

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — Abortion rights continue to spark debate across the country, as each state adopts its own laws.

Texas has the most restrictive laws, effectively banning abortions.

Illinois lawmakers sit on the opposite end, passing a bill that eases abortion access for minors.

"This was a great win for ensuring that our youngest patients, our adolescence and young women have full access to safe abortions," Planned Parenthood St. Louis Region Chief Medical Officer Collen McNicholas said.

"The Pro-Life community is really so sad and really outraged to see this law be repealed," Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler said.

McNicholas and Scheidler have differing perspectives on Illinois House Bill 370, which repeals the Parental Notification Act.

"A law that was first signed into law in 1995, and it's credited with saving about 12,000 children from abortions because of this process where the abortion facility would inform a parent that a minor girl was seeking an abortion," Sheidler said.

"For most folks who are accessing abortion are already engaging an adult in their life if that is a safe thing for them to do, but the reality is for others they don't have a safe space to engage a parent or another adult in their life," McNicholas said.

The Illinois House and Senate passed the bill, which now awaits Governor Pritzker's signature. SIU-Edwardsville Students for Reproductive Rights Vice President Bridget Patrick led efforts to reach lawmakers.

"Often I believe minors, sometimes are afraid to come forward. They may not be in the best home situation environment that is supportive of them. So, a lot of times, coming forward could have health and safety consequences for them," Patrick said.

Minors can carry out and manage their pregnancies without parental involvement. 

McNicholas believes it should be the same for abortions.

"If we trust young folks to make decisions about pregnancy we should also trust them to make decisions about ending a pregnancy," she said.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law, and it would go into effect in June of 2022.

Meanwhile, Missouri's law requires a parent to be present at a minor's abortion procedure. 

Dr. McNicholas said Missouri also requires a second parent to be notified.