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Pritzker signs Parental Notice repeal

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 370, the Youth Health and Safety Act, on Friday. The bill repeals the Parental Notification Act (PNA).

The Parental Notification Act of 1995 required doctors to notify a pregnant minor’s parent within 48 hours prior to an abortion procedure. Reproductive rights activists have been fighting for years to have the act repealed, with efforts ramping up after Texas’s SB8 went into effect.

“With reproductive rights under attack around the country, today we are once again affirming that in Illinois, access to reproductive healthcare will be available to those who need it,” said State Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin). “With the signing of the Youth Health and Safety Act, we are protecting the most vulnerable young people in our state- young people who live in such dangerous family situations that they fear abuse, homelessness or forced pregnancy and marriage when they face an unplanned pregnancy and need to access reproductive healthcare.”

The repeal takes effect on June 1, 2022. 

“We saw the harm caused by PNA firsthand while representing young people in courts all across Illinois,” said Colleen Connell of the ACLU of Illinois. “We celebrate this measure – and the recognition by the State of Illinois that all people must have the ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions.”

The PNA had been enforced for the past eight years. The ACLU of Illinois said it had represented nearly 600 young people seeking a judicial bypass in courts around the state. In more than 99% of these matters, the court granted the bypass. 

With the repeal, Illinois now has some of the widest access to abortion services in the country and they widest within the Midwest. A growing number of those seeking abortion are coming from other states. Since 2014, the number of out-of-state patients has risen from 2,970, or 7.73 percent of all abortions in the state, to 5,668 in 2018, or 13 percent, in 2018. For 2019, 7,534 patients came from out of state.

“By signing the Youth Health and Safety Act into law, Illinois has ensured that young people can decide to involve the people they trust in their health care decisions and are protected from harmful domestic situations and unnecessary judicial interactions,” said Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. “In short, all Illinoisans, regardless of age, now have the full legal autonomy to make reproductive health care decisions that are best for their bodies.”

“Trusting young people to make their own reproductive health decisions has long guided Planned Parenthood, and today, that trust became Illinois law,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Years of organizing by youth activists and public health advocates, including Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, has brought this goal to fruition.”

“With reproductive rights under attack across the nation, Illinois is once again establishing itself as a leader in ensuring access to healthcare services,” Pritzker said. “This repeal was essential, because it was the most vulnerable pregnant minors who were punished by this law: victims of rape and physical abuse in unsafe homes.”

In addition to repealing PNA, the new law creates a working group focused on pregnant and parenting youth, and youth who may become pregnant and parents. The working group, which will include 10 young people, will identify existing and needed resources for youth in the areas of education, housing, employment, food access, and childcare.

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