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Illinois court again delays enforcement of abortion parental notification law

[JURIST] An Illinois Cook County Circuit Court [official website] judge on Wednesday granted a temporary restraining order on the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 [text] only hours after the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board had ruled to begin enforcing the law. The order was sought by the the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU-IL) [advocacy website] in support of a suit brought by a local medical doctor and a women's clinic on behalf of themselves and their minor patients. ACLU-IL alleged that enforcement of the law would cause major harm [video] and compromise the privacy of some Illinois teen-aged women. The Medical Disciplinary Board had declined [Chicago Sun-Times report] on Wednesday to extend a 90-day grace period that the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (DFPR) [official website] granted [statement, PDF] in August. Anti-abortion advocates like the Pro-Life Action League [advocacy website] had welcomed the Board's decision but later in the day expressed disappointment [Chicago Tribune report] over the temporary restraining order.

The DFPR's decisiont to grant a grace period followed a ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] in July 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 1995 law, which has never been enforced, authorizes state judges to waive the notice requirement if doing so would be in a minor's best interest, but otherwise requires parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. Controversy on abortion laws has also continued in other states. In August, a judge in the US District Court for the District of South Dakota [official website] issued a ruling [JURIST report] clarifying that South Dakota doctors are required to tell women seeking an abortion that they are about to terminate a unique human life before performing the procedure, partially upholding a state law. In the same month, an Oklahoma state court judge ruled [JURIST report] that a state law [SB 1878, DOC] requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure violates the Oklahoma Constitution [text].

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