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Illinois gives doctors 90 days to implement parental notices for abortions

[JURIST] The Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (DFPR) [official website] on Wednesday granted doctors a 90-day grace period [statement, PDF] for enforcement of the state's parental notification requirement for minors obtaining abortions. The grace period came at the recommendation of the state Medical Disciplinary Board who voted unanimously to forgive "willful" failure to provide notice to a legal guardian under the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 [text]. The DFPR's announcement follows a decision [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] last month by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] that reversed a district court injunction [JURIST report] barring the law's enforcement. The statute authorizes state judges to waive the notice requirement if doing so would be in a minor's best interest.

The US Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey [opinion] that a spousal notification requirement violated a woman's right to privacy in choosing to have an abortion. Statutory restrictions on this right are unconstitutional if they are found to impose an undue burden. Pro-life groups had argued prior to the Seventh Circuit's ruling that minors from surrounding states travel to Illinois to obtain abortions. Thirty-five other US states have enforceable parental notification or permission laws. In June 2007, the governor of New Hampshire signed a repeal of the state's parental notification law [JURIST report], which never took effect. In 2006, voters in Oregon and California rejected statutes that would have required notification [JURIST report], although those measures allowed minors to request a judge to bypass the requirement.

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