Illinois bishop: End of parental notice on abortion 'victory' for 'evil'

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CNS) -- Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield decried a new Illinois law that repeals the state's Parental Notice of Abortion Act.

By signing the repeal into law Dec. 17, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's action "marks a dark and disgraceful moment in the history of the state of Illinois, the bishop said in a statement issued the same day.

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, it repeals a 1995 law that required parents be notified of their minor daughter's abortion 48 hours before the procedure took place. The law did not require parental consent, as many other state laws do.

The notification law did not actually take effect until 2013 because of various court challenges. That year the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the law was constitutional.

The repeal measure, H.B. 370, was "deceptively titled Illinois Youth Health and Safety Act," Bishop Paprocki said.

"Those legislators who promoted and voted in support of this legislation, and the governor who signed this unjust law, have granted a five-part victory to evil in our state," he said.

"First, our government has granted a free pass to sex traffickers. Those who enslave young women and girls throughout our state can now even more easily than ever before cover up their crimes with impunity," Bishop Paprocki said.

"Those in law enforcement and social service," he continued, "who fight so hard to combat this evil as well as those young women and girls who are enslaved by evil forces in this industry have been dealt a demoralizing blow by our government."

In addition, he said, this "legislative action violates God's will in stripping the authority and responsibility entrusted to parents ... to ensure the health and safety of their children," and the government "has imperiled the children whom God has entrusted to their governance."

"Most grievous (is that) our government has promoted and facilitated murder" and "provided evil the cover of darkness in which it thrives," Bishop Paprocki said.

Regarding his point, the government is imperiling children with this repeal, Bishop Paprocki explained the government "rightly exercises its authority by establishing laws that protect minors from making life-altering decisions that they are not equipped to make, establishing laws that prohibit children from tanning, buying lottery tickets, buying cigarettes, and purchasing alcohol and tobacco."

Minors also "cannot get body piercings without parental consent, nor can they undergo every other invasive medical procedure without parental consent," he said.

By repealing the requirement for parental notification about abortion, "our government has knowingly put our children in mortal danger and physical danger," Bishop Paprocki added.

When he signed the repeal, Pritzker called it "essential" because, he said, "it was the most vulnerable pregnant minors who were punished by this law: victims of rape and physical abuse in unsafe homes."

He said that with "reproductive rights under attack across the nation," Illinois continues to be a "national leader" in "ensuring access to health care services," including abortion.

The director of March for Life Chicago said the day Pritzker signed repeal measure was "a tragic day for parents, girls and unborn babies in Illinois and the entire Midwest."

Pritzker "acted in opposition to 72% of Illinois residents who wanted to keep this commonsense law in place," Kevin Grillot said in a Dec. 20 statement. "Illinois is now the only state in the Midwest that does not have parental notification in place, an open invitation to out-of-state minors to pursue abortions in Illinois."

"This repeal strips parents of their rights to be involved in the medical care of their daughters and leaves girls increasingly vulnerable to sexual traffickers," he added, echoing one of Bishop Paprocki's points.

Pro-lifers "want the governor and the abortion industry to know that we will not stop speaking up for vulnerable girls and their unborn babies," Grillot said, noting that on Jan. 8, March for Life Chicago will hold its annual rally and march marking the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

"Thousands will gather in Federal Plaza and march down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago as a sign of our unwavering support for each and every human life," he said.