Thursday, July 11, 2013

Parental Notice of Abortion Act Upheld by Illinois Supreme Court

Today, in the case of The Hope Clinic for Women, Ltd. v. Flores the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding the constitutionality of a law called the "Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995". With some exceptions, that law prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion on a minor unless an adult family member is first given notice.

The decision make clear that Illinois law certainly recognizes the right to an abortion. It is also clear that  the protections under Illinois law are the same as those provided by federal law under the "due process" clause of the US Constitution. The problem here came in not as a due process issue but as a privacy issue. The court had to wrestle with the issue of whether the notice provision of the Act violates privacy rights. Specifically, does it interfere with a minor’s right to keep medical information confidential? Here the Court basically stated that while the notice provision may interfere with that right, such intrusions were not "unreasonable" which was necessary to defeat the Act.

You can read the entire case here and get into the details of the Court's reasoning. Much discussion is had in how the court interprets the Illinois Constitution in relation to the US Constitution. Illinois basically follows federal law but not in every instance. It gets confusing - sometimes even for lawyers.

Note: just because I reported what the decisions was, it is not reflective of my personal opinion which I reserve for me and my maker.