Bishop Paprocki: Illinois Repeal of Parental Notice Abortion Law ‘A Dark and Disgraceful Moment’

Not only does the repeal endanger children who have abortions and facilitate the murder of children in those abortions, Bishop Paprocki stated, but it also grants “a free pass to sex traffickers” who would enslave women and young girls and force them to have abortions.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois (photo: Diocese of Springfield in Illinois / Diocese of Springfield in Illinois)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed a repeal of the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, a move which drew consternation from Catholic and pro-life people in the state. 

Under the repeal, which the Democratic governor signed Dec. 17, minors will no longer be required to notify an adult before seeking an abortion. The repeal, which Illinois’ legislature passed in October, takes effect June 1, 2022. 

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois called the bill’s signing “a dark and disgraceful moment in the history of the State of Illinois…It is striking how much this legislation does to provide cover, secrecy, and darkness over evil deeds.”

“This legislative action violates the most fundamental rights and duties entrusted by God to parents to ensure the health and safety of their children,” Bishop Paprocki said. 

“This is a right and responsibility that God grants, and which no government can take away. In attempting to do so, this legislation acts directly against God’s will, which is the very definition of evil…This most heinous offense against God and neighbor [abortion] is now made more easily accessible to minor children than tattoos or getting their ears pierced.”

Illinois’ parental notification law was passed in 1995 but only implemented in 2013 after a court battle. It required that abortion providers notify the parents of a minor seeking an abortion at least 48 hours before the scheduled abortion, except in certain cases where the minor could not notify a family member. A minor was allowed to seek a judge's approval to bypass the notification requirement.

“Thirty-seven states, and every other state in the Midwest, have at least parental notice of abortion laws,” the state’s Catholic conference said in October. “Yet Illinois is no longer among them. What an ignominious outcome for those who supported and voted for the bill.”

Not only does the repeal endanger children who have abortions and facilitate the murder of children in those abortions, Bishop Paprocki stated, but it also grants “a free pass to sex traffickers” who would enslave women and young girls and force them to have abortions. 

“The government rightly exercises its authority by establishing laws that protect minors from making life-altering decisions that they are not equipped to make, establishing laws that prohibit children from tanning, buying lottery tickets, buying cigarettes, and purchasing alcohol and tobacco,” Bishop Paprocki pointed out. 

“Minors cannot get body piercings without parental consent, nor can they undergo every other invasive medical procedure without parental consent. Removing the requirement for parental notification, our government has knowingly put our children in mortal danger and physical danger.”

A March 2021 report from ACLU Illinois and Human Rights Watch, which backed the repeal, said about 1,000 minors have abortions each year in Illinois.

Bishop Paprocki concluded his statement with prayers for the conversion of the hearts of those who made the repeal possible. 

“We pray this day for a conversion of heart and a renewal of mind among those in authority who perpetrated this evil on our people. We pray solemnly this day also for the protection of the many children and families imperiled by this unjust law,” Bishop Paprocki concluded. 

Illinois is not the first state to make legal moves to protect the “privacy” of minors seeking abortions. 

California has a parental consent law for minors seeking abortions on the books, but the law is permanently enjoined by court order, meaning minors in California can seek abortions without their parents’ knowledge or permission. And in September, California governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that allows insured individuals, including minors, to keep “sensitive services” confidential from the insurance policyholder, generally their parents.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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