Illinois’ six Catholic bishops are warning against proposed changes to the state’s abortion laws.
When Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office, he said he wanted to make Illinois “the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to guaranteeing women’s reproductive rights.” Several Democrats have since introduced bills that would do away with criminal penalties for abortion providers, remove a parental notice requirement for minors seeking an abortion, and allow medical professionals other than doctors and nurses to perform the procedure.
The bishops wrote in a statement released Thursday that lawmakers in Illinois, like their counterparts in New York and Virginia, are “sowing unnecessary division” with their legislative efforts. They took issue with several of the proposed changes, including a plan to repeal a requirement that girls younger than 18 notify a parent before getting an abortion.
“This law, which has been in statute since 1995 and enforced since 2013, ensures parents are involved in profound medical decisions involving their children,” the statement said. “Every other state bordering Illinois – Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Iowa – requires at least parental notification.”
The bishops said parental notice was a “broadly-supported, reasonable safeguard” for parents.
The six said that “opposition to these bills do not require one to assume a pro-life political position.”
State Sen. Elgie Sims Jr., D-Chicago, and state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Westchester, want to repeal the notification law, which they say forces minors to talk to parents or guardians that may not support their decision. Supporters have also said that young girls without an adult family member or guardian to turn to are forced to go before a judge to get around the requirement before getting the procedure.