Thomas More Society Rallies Illinois State’s Attorneys in Support of Parental Notice

November 22, 2010

CHICAGO (MetroCatholic) — Today, the Thomas More Society took another step toward the long-overdue enforcement of Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Society attorneys filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of a bipartisan group of Illinois State’s Attorneys, urging the rejection of the American Civil Liberties Union’s latest attack on the Act’s constitutionality. The ACLU contends that the Act violates the privacy, due process and equal protection guarantees in the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

The parental notice law requires an abortion doctor to notify a parent, grandparent, stepparent living in the household or legal guardian before performing an abortion on a minor, unless the minor states in writing that she is a victim of abuse or secures a confidential “judicial bypass.” Although the Illinois General Assembly enacted the current parental notice law on a bipartisan basis more than 15 years ago, the law has not gone into effect because of the ACLU’s federal and state court challenges. Though upheld by a Cook County judge, the law’s enforcement was still “stayed” by agreement of the ACLU and Attorney General, pending a final ruling on the ACLU’s appeal. Illinois is the Midwest’s only state without a parental notice or consent law in effect.

“We are thrilled that so many county prosecutors throughout Illinois support a parent’s right to know before a minor is taken for an abortion,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel at the Thomas More Society. “It’s long past time for Illinois to protect its daughters from ’secret’ abortions by affirming the right of parents to be involved in their children’s medical decisions.”

The amicus brief argues the following points:

  • The Illinois Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. On the contrary, the 1970 Constitutional Convention referred abortion issues to the legislature.
  • Numerous other federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have repeatedly upheld parental notice as constitutional.
  • The Illinois General Assembly properly found that parental consultation prior to an abortion promotes many legitimate state interests.

Thomas More Society special counsel Paul Benjamin Linton drafted the brief, which thirteen State’s Attorneys from across Illinois have joined. For more information or for comment from the Thomas More Society, please contact Stephanie Lewis at 312-422-1333 or [email protected]. For a copy of the brief, please visit

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family, and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit


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