Thomas More Society Files Motion for Immediate Transfer of Parental Notice Challenge to Illinois Supreme Court
August 23, 2010
CHICAGO, (christiansunite.com) -- This morning, Thomas More Society attorneys delivered the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court a motion to immediately transfer the legal case pending against the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 from the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court. Arguing that pregnant minors at risk for abortion suffer harm every day that the Act is not enforced, the Society invoked the Supreme Court rule allowing transfer of an appeal when the "public interest requires prompt adjudication." The pending appeal, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is currently in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, where a decision is not expected for a year or more.
"More than fifteen years ago, with overwhelming bipartisan support, parental notice was supposedly made the law in Illinois, but as we sit here today, secret abortions on pregnant minors continue unabated," said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society executive director and legal counsel. "With this motion to transfer, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to immediately and definitively decide the constitutionality of parental notice in Illinois."
Earlier this year, Judge Daniel Riley of the Cook County Circuit Court allowed the Thomas More Society to appear as "friends of the court" as he rejected the ACLU's Illinois state constitutional challenges to the Parental Notice Act. However, after the decision, both the ACLU and the Illinois Attorney General's office agreed to an indefinite stay of the law, extending through the duration of the appeal a temporary restraining order entered earlier by Judge Riley.
Since the Parental Notice Act was signed into law in 1995, more than 50,000 abortions have been performed on pregnant minors in Illinois, including almost 5,000 abortions on girls 14 years of age and younger. Illinois is the only state in the Midwest that does not have a law requiring parental notification or consent prior to an abortion, and more than 55,000 abortions have been performed on non-residents in Illinois since 1995, including an unknown number of out-of-state pregnant minors.
While the Act was passed in 1995, it was in late 2006 that the Illinois Supreme Court issued the Act's required "judicial bypass" rules, which allow a minor a confidential bypass proceeding in court in lieu of notifying her parents. Notwithstanding the bypass rules, the Act also allows a minor to forego notification if she declares in writing that she is the victim of abuse. In early 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected the ACLU's federal constitutional challenge to the Act.
It is not yet known whether the Attorney General and the ACLU will support, oppose or remain neutral on the motion to transfer. A copy of the motion to transfer can be downloaded at www.thomasmoresociety.org.
About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.