Minors Seeking Abortions in Illinois No Longer Need to Notify Their Parents

Pro-life and Catholic organizations decried the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act as a stripping of protections for minors and unborn children.

A statue of Abraham Lincoln has its place in front of the Illinois Capitol in Springfield.
A statue of Abraham Lincoln has its place in front of the Illinois Capitol in Springfield. (photo: Brian Scantlebury / Shutterstock)

Minors in Illinois are no longer required to notify an adult before seeking an abortion, as a repeal signed by the state’s Democratic governor in December took effect June 1.

Pro-life and Catholic organizations decried the repeal as a stripping of protections for minors and unborn children. 

 “Illinois is now the only state in the Midwest that does not have Parental Notification in place, an open invitation to out-of-state minors to pursue abortions in Illinois,” Kevin Grillot, executive director of the March for Life Chicago, said in a Wednesday statement. 

“Effective today, Illinois strips parents of their rights to be involved in the medical care of their daughters and leaves girls increasingly vulnerable to sexual traffickers.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in late December signed a repeal of the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, a move that drew consternation from Catholic and pro-life people in the state. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Illinois Right to Life, a pro-life group active in the state, said that the Parental Notice of Abortion law was popular among Illinois voters. A March 2021 Tarrance Poll found that 72% of Illinois voters, including 58% of self-described “pro-choice” voters wanted to keep the notification law in place, the group asserted. 

“The repeal of Parental Notice of Abortion tramples on the rights of parents to be involved in the health decisions of their young daughters,” Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, said in a June 1 statement.

“This is yet another example of Governor Pritzker ignoring the wishes of his constituents in favor of appeasing his friends in the abortion industry. Governor Pritzker has left young girls at the mercy of sexual predators. Pritzker has told parents they don’t matter.”