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Judge Lifts Restraining Order On Abortion Notification Law. Sort Of.

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Mar 29, 2010 9:40PM

Photo by Steve Rhodes
Cook County Judge Daniel Riley has lifted a temporary restraining order on the state's controversial abortion notification law that requires doctors to notify the guardians of girls 17 years old or younger 48 hours before an abortion procedure; no parental consent is required for the procedure. The law was actually passed in 1984 and updated in 1995, but that update was placed under a federal injunction which was lifted last summer by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The law was slated to go into effect last November, but Judge Riley granted the ACLU's restraining order on the law just hours after The Illinois' Medical Disciplinary Board cleared the law.

For the time being, though, Judge Riley has allowed for a stay in the enforcement of the law while appeals are sorted out. Per the Sun-Times:

"The law in question is a rather unfortunate piece of legislation," Riley said in a brief, noon-hour hearing. "It's likely to cause more harm than good."

Riley explained the law discriminates against a class of minors who are pregnant, in that those who are seeking an abortion must get parental notification but those who choose to have a child or even to adopt don't have the same requirement.

There are ways around the notification: in the case of medical emergency or if the girl puts in writing that the pregnancy was a result of sexual assault, she may bypass the notification. A teen can also request a bypass of notification by appearing before a judge who would have 48 hours to rule. The ACLU of Illinois set up a website designed to help guide girls through the bypass process (the site hasn't been updated yet to reflect today's ruling). Opponents of the law are worried that it will force teen girls to possibly seek unsafe ways to terminate their pregnancy or will force them to carry the pregnancy to term while opponents insist that parents should be involved in the situation. According to WBBM 780, "ACLU of Illinois Executive Director Colleen Connell says the group is exploring legal options, including filing an appeal."