Democrats in the Illinois legislature voted late last week to repeal the state’s final restriction on abortion, which required parental notification for minors seeking to end the life of their fetus.
State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) celebrated the vote on Twitter, announcing the bill, titled the Youth Health and Safety Act, now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) for signature.
“Illinois will now become a 100% pro-choice state,” Williams touted:
— Rep. Ann Williams (@RepAnnWilliams) October 28, 2021
In June 2019, Pritzker signed an expansive bill that repealed Illinois’ ban on partial-birth abortion and made abortion at any time during pregnancy a “fundamental right.”
Pritzker’s office said at the time the governor was “making good on his promise to make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for women’s reproductive rights.”
In a statement Thursday, however, the Catholic Conference of Illinois condemned the vote:
On behalf of the Illinois’ bishops and our entire Catholic community, the Catholic Conference of Illinois denounces the Illinois General Assembly’s vote to repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Since 2013, this law has served to keep distressed young girls connected to those who love them the most. The law has also helped to ensure that those who would abuse minor girls cannot then erase the evidence of their crimes in the nearest abortion clinic.
A Tarrance Group poll conducted in March found when Illinois registered voters were asked if the law should require the parents or guardians of minors seeking an abortion to be notified, 56 percent replied “Yes/Strongly,” and 16 percent said “Yes,” while 16 percent responded “No/Strongly,” and 6 percent said “No.”
I am so sad that the General Assembly chose to remove the Parental Notification of Abortion Act. PNA is a commonsense law that protects minor girls, protects parental rights, and sometimes even protects unborn children.
— Molly Malone Rumley (@amending_Molly) October 29, 2021
“The results of this poll could not be more crystal-clear,” Illinois Right to Life Executive Director Amy Gehrke said when the overwhelming support for the law was revealed.
A vast majority of Illinoisans believe that parents should be notified when their minor daughters wish to have an abortion. As the mother of two daughters, I would have been devastated if one of my girls went through a life altering and emotionally devastating abortion with only those who seek to profit from it to support them. Obviously, the majority of Illinois residents agree.
Here in IL, we're going into the weekend knowing that 62 of our state reps and 32 of our state senators chose to protect the ability of sexual predators to cover their crimes with abortion over the right of parents to be involved in their children's healthcare. We won't forget.
— Amy C. Gehrke (@AmyCGehrke1) October 29, 2021
The Catholic Conference noted 37 states, including every other state in the Midwest, have parental notice of abortion laws.
“Repealing this law defies public support and is contrary to the legal and moral right of parents to care for their children,” the conference asserted, adding the vote “is and will be a tragedy for many families, young girls and so many unborn children. We pray for the day when every human life may be cherished from conception to natural death.”
By passing the Youth Health and Safety Act, Illinois has ensured that young people can choose to involve the people they trust in their health care decisions and are protected from harmful domestic situations and unnecessary judicial interactions. In short, all Illinoisans, regardless of age, now have the full legal autonomy to make decisions about what’s best for their bodies. We look forward to Governor Pritzker upholding his promise to sign this bill when it crosses his desk.
However, National Catholic Register reported Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield said during a press conference parental notification laws “protect children from making serious life-changing decisions that they are not yet equipped to make.”
“These laws exist to protect the rights of parents to fulfill the duty that God has entrusted to them, and that no government can take away,” he said.