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Attorney General now claims Illinois constitution contains right to abortion

by Staff
March 15, 2010
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CHICAGO - Reacting to the recent claim by the Attorney General that the Illinois Constitution contains a right to abortion, attorneys from the Thomas More Society will appear in Cook County court on Monday, March 15, again seeking to intervene in the latest American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit, challenging the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995.

In Hope Clinic, et al., v. Brent Adams et al. (No. 09 CH 38661), Thomas More Society attorneys are representing Illinois State's Attorneys Stu Umholtz (R-Tazewell), Ed Deters (D-Effingham) and Ray Cavanaugh (R-Henderson), and maintain that because there is no right to abortion in the Illinois Constitution, the ACLU's latest challenge to parental notice is baseless. The Attorney General, representing various Illinois officials who are named as defendants, has moved to dismiss the case on other grounds.

"Because the ACLU has already lost in federal court, its lawyers must prove in state court that the Illinois Constitution of 1970 guaranteed a right to abortion that was even stronger than the federal abortion right upheld in Roe v. Wade, handed down in 1973. This is an utter falsehood plainly belied by the historical record. Yet, instead of defending the Illinois Constitution, whose Framers clearly left the issue of abortion to the legislature, the Attorney General has tossed the Constitution aside and conceded to the ACLU on this key issue," stated Thomas Brejcha, President & Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society. "Illinois parents have a right to know before their kids are taken for abortions. If the Attorney General won't defend the parental notice law vigorously, we will do so, until the day when there are no more secret abortions performed on Illinois children."

The Parental Notice of Abortion Act requires a child under age 18 to notify a parent, grandparent or step-parent in the home, or to go before a judge to get a waiver, prior to undergoing an abortion. The Act was prevented from going into effect in June 1995, by an injunction issued by the federal district court in Chicago. Fourteen years later, in August of 2009, the federal appeals court lifted the injunction. However, before the Act could go into effect, the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board imposed a 90-day grace period on enforcement. On the day that grace period ended, November 4, the law was in effect for only a few hours before Judge Daniel Riley of the Cook County circuit court granted a temporary restraining order, again halting enforcement of the Act.

Judge Riley has granted Thomas More Society attorneys a special setting for their motion to intervene, at 10 a.m. on Monday. At 10:30 a.m., the court will hear the Attorney General's motion to dismiss the ACLU's case. Thomas More Society attorneys will be available for comment following the hearing.

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, public interest law firm based in Chicago and dedicated to fighting for the rights and dignity of all human beings, from conception until natural death. The Society vigorously defends clients in state and federal courtrooms around the country, addressing vital issues across the pro-life spectrum, including pregnancy discrimination, end-of-life health care, the right of conscientious objection for medical workers, freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and peaceable nonviolent protest.

As a public interest law firm, the Thomas More Society is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, supported solely by private donations. Visit for more information.

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