Illinois Supreme Court Considering Abortion Law Challenge

Sep 21, 2012

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a challenge to an old abortion law that's never gone into effect. It would require girls aged 17 and younger to notify parents before terminating a pregnancy.

The law was passed in the mid-1990s, but a series of legal fights kept it from taking effect. In 2006, Illinois was ready to enforce the law. That set off another round of court challenges.

The one before the Illinois Supreme Court was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Attorney Lorie Chaiten argues it discriminates against teenage girls. 

"Under Illinois law, the only medical decision a pregnant minor faces that requires parental or court involvement is the decision to have an abortion" Chaiten said.

Chaiten wanted to make that argument in front of a lower court judge, but her case was dismissed before it went to trial. She's asking the high court to reinstate it.

But Illinois Solicitor General Michael Scodro says dismissal was the right decision. He says there's no legal standard that any woman, teenage or not, has an absolute right to an abortion.

"The right that's protected, and vigorously protected, is the right not to have the state unduly burden that decision" Scodro said.

Scodro argues courts have long said that requiring a minor to get her parents' permission before she can have an abortion is NOT an "undue burden."