Judge Blocks Enforcement of Parental Notification Law

Earlier Wednesday, state's Medical Disciplinary Board voted to not extend grace period

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    A judge has issued a temporary restraining order delaying enforcement of a law requiring doctors to notify parents of teens seeking an abortion.

    The order issued Wednesday was sought by the American Civil Liberties Union. It is to remain in effect until the judge can hear
    arguments on the group's opposition.

    In the ruling, the judge noted the devisiveness of the notification issue, but said the possibility that "irreparable harm" could in fact take place, warrants taking a closer look at the law.

    It came just hours after the state's Medical Disciplinary Board voted not to extend a 90-day grace period put into place in August.

    The law was set to go into effect Tuesday but was delayed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

    In July, a federal appeals court in Chicago lifted a federal injunction on a 1995 version of the law, thus clearing it for enforcement. At that time, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation granted a 90-day grace period, saying it wanted to ensure a judicial waiver process was accessible to abortion seekers.

    That provision allows patients to bypass notification by going before a judge, but ACLU lawyers have questions whether rural jurisdictions are prepared to implement that process.

    The notification law has been hotly debated for 30 years.

    Thirty-four other states already enforce measures requiring parents’ notification before a minor obtains an abortion. in 24 of those states, parents are required to consent.

    Anti-abortionists have long argued that Illinois' lax abortion laws turn the state into a magnet for abortion seekers.

    “Illinois has become sort of a dumping ground,” said Joseph M. Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League, whose headquarters are in Chicago, to the New York Times. “You can tell from the license plates of the parking lots of these places, a lot are from out of state.”