Parents react to Illinois Abortion law ruling

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - It is some 15 years old and never been enforced.  However, now that a judge lifted a temporary restraining order on the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, some Heartland parents think it should be enforced as soon as possible.

"It is a parent's right to know, that is their child and they should have to notify them," Mount Vernon parent Lisa Kiefer said.

For this mom, those words come from experience, as Kiefer became a grandparent much earlier than expected.

"I have a 16-year old who has a child and it would have very much upset me if she would have had an abortion without telling me," Kiefer said.

Last fall the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a lawsuit again the state, and challenged he constitutional grounds of parental notice of abortion act.  By law, doctors must notify the parents or guardians of a girl 17 years old or younger 48 hours before she gets an abortion.

A spokesperson for the ACLU says because of that, the law poses a threat to young women.

"When young women decide not to (have an abortion) they usually have a pretty good reason for doing so.  That is, there is a real threat in the home of abuse or neglect or maltreatment," said Edwin Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

The judge who lifted the ban on the law seemed to side with the ACLU and said the law discriminates between minors who chose to give birth and those who chose abortion. However, he still found the law constitutional.

It is a decision parent Kara Blumhorst supports.  She says parents need to be more involved in their teenagers' lives.

"A lot of parents are not involved enough with their children and to be able to do something behind their back like that might give them more access to sex and maybe having another abortion," Blumhorst said.

The recent ruling does not mean the law will take effect right away.  The Cook County Judge also approved a grace period as the case is appealed.  Meanwhile, the folks at ACLU say they are reviewing legal options including an appeal to the judge's decision.  Heartland News has been following the abortion notification bill for several years.

Lawmakers began debating the issue in 1995.  The measure has hit several legal hurdles along the way.

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