Illinois House Bill 1797 is meant to repeal the controversial requirement for pregnant minors to notify their legal guardian 48 hours before receiving an abortion from the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995.
Consent from the guardian isn’t needed, just a notification. The act had a long and complicated legal battle in the process of becoming law.
The act wasn’t put into effect until July 11, 2013 when the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 was constitutional. NowNew house bill to repeal abortion restriction in 2021 the act is going through the process of being repealed from this new house bill.
Freshman business administration major Gage Crader from Godfrey, Illinois said that if a person is old enough, they should have the freedom to do whatever they want with their body.
“I don’t necessarily agree with abortion, but if a person is old enough to have sex to conceive a child, then they should be able to do what they want with their body,” Crader said.
Crader said one of the reasons that the Parental Notice Act is being repealed in 2021 is that younger people have a louder voice now.
“With social media and the internet, it’s easier for teenagers, like high schoolers, to get involved and in touch with the rest of the world,” Crader said.
Professor of Political Science Andrew Theising said the bill’s repeal was made possible by a transfer of power between parties.
“I should say that the bill was passed back in 1995. The Republicans controlled the House and the Senate and the governor’s office,” Theising said. “And then in 2019, we have a case where the Democrats control the House, the Senate and the governor’s office, and that’s when overturning this bill really started to gain momentum and here it’s happened in 2021.”
Other states like Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and Minnesota have similar laws requiring minors to notify their parents before having an abortion. Theising said these laws have had an effect on the number of abortions in the U.S.
“The number of abortions has really been going down quite a bit, and it has probably to do [as much with] contraception as it is [does] to the restrictive laws that a lot of states have put in place,including Missouri,” Theising said.
Theising said he doesn’t see how a parental notice helps a pregnant minor.
“So if we have a young woman that’s pregnant and doesn’t feel like she can tell her parents or guardian what’s going on, this law would involve that parent or guardian. I find that kind of interesting and I don’t really see the value in it from a support line,” Theising said. “It’s adding complexity to the situation and perhaps making a situation worse rather than helping the child in need. In my opinion that should be the foremost issue ... helping that child in need I think is most important.”
Junior political science major Sydney McNece from Godfrey, Illinois, said parental notice laws could have particularly damaging effects in violent households.
“A good portion of teens that get pregnant at a young age are from families where they do not feel comfortable to ask for permission — so [they come from] a lot of home violence and things like that. So it only makes it worse forcing these children to ask for an abortion,” McNece said.
McNece said that often, minors discover their pregnancy later than adults.
“Minors usually find out they’re pregnant a lot later than adults, and that leads to second trimester abortions which are really dangerous,” McNece said. “[Illinois House Bill 1797 is] really proving that there is a lot of data stacking on top of how much better it is for this bill to be passed and it’s just going to [be] better for the safety of a lot of kids in the state of Illinois,” McNece said.
Visit the Illinois General Assembly website for more information on Illinois House Bill 1797.