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Thomas More Society Claims Victory for Illinois Parents

by Staff
July 15, 2009
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CHICAGO, (christiansunite.com) -- Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dissolved the federal injunction against the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act. As a direct result of the court's decision (Zbaraz v. Hartigan), Illinois parents will be entitled, for the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided, to notification before their minor daughters are taken for abortions. The decision is the culmination of four years work by the Thomas More Society, particularly TMS Special Counsel Paul Linton, who devised the legal strategy which ultimately led to the lifting of the injunction.

"This is an incredible victory for Illinois parents and their children," said Peter Breen, Executive Director and Legal Counsel of the Thomas More Society. "Parental involvement laws enjoy overwhelming public support. These laws promote the integrity of the family and ensure that parents are consulted so that their children are not forced into an abortion decision. A wealth of social science data indicates that parental involvement laws lead to lower pregnancy rates, out-of-wedlock births and abortions."

The Parental Notice Act has been in legal limbo for more than ten years because of the Illinois Supreme Court's refusal to issue the rules necessary to make the Act effective. Since the passage of the Act in 1995, over 50,000 Illinois minors have obtained abortions, more than 4,000 of whom were 14 years old or younger, without any requirement to notify their parents beforehand.

Following Linton's legal strategy, representatives of pro-life organizations met with DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett in the spring of 2005 to ask him to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt the rules required by the 1995 Act. Birkett agreed and filed his petition in June 2006. On September 7, 2006, the Thomas More Society, representing a range of interested organizations, filed a supplemental petition with the state supreme court. Less than two weeks later, the Illinois Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Bob Thomas, unanimously adopted Supreme Court Rule 303A.

After various delays, Attorney General Lisa Madigan returned to federal court in March 2007 and petitioned Judge David Coar to lift the permanent injunction which had been issued eleven years earlier. After Judge Coar denied the petition, the Thomas More Society intervened in the case on behalf of State's Attorneys Stu Umholtz (Republican, Tazewell County) and Ed Deters (Democrat, Effingham County) to press an appeal against the injunction.

About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center is a public interest law firm in Chicago that counsels and defends those who work to protect innocent human life, defends those who proclaim faith-based values in our nation's public square, and strives to protect the institution of marriage as a union of man and woman formed to beget, bear and nurture new human lives. For more information, please visit: www.thomasmoresociety.org.

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