Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Of Democracy, Justice, the Sanctity of Human Life...and the Illinois Supreme Court's Disinterest in Them All

From the Thomas More Society via Christian Newswire -- In 1995, the Illinois legislature passed a law that a parent or guardian (or grandparent or step parent residing in the same household) must be notified 48 hours before a child under 18 has an abortion. However, the Illinois Supreme Court has refused to write rules that the law requires for an appeals process. Therefore, the law cannot go into effect. The Illinois Supreme Court is the only state Supreme Court in the country that has refused to issue such appeal rules.

So now, the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, Pro-Life Law Center has submitted a petition to the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of a coalition of pro-life, pro-family and religious groups, including the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Illinois Citizens for Life, and Concerned Women for America. The petition calls for the Court to put the parental notice law into effect. The Society’s lawyers, Tom Brejcha and Paul Linton, submitted their “Supplemental Petition” (a shorter petition was filed last June by DuPage County State’s Attorney, Joseph Birkett) to Chief Justice Robert Thomas and fellow Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of Illinois-based “Friends of the Court,” urging issuance of an appeal rule.

“Illinois’ governor wants every child to have health care. Yet, the health and emotional well-being of thousands of girls are compromised if parents are not notified when their daughters consider an abortion,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel with the Thomas More Society. “Incredibly, we live in a state where parental consent is required before aspirins are dispensed, but parents are left in the dark when their child undergoes serious surgery. Chicago protects goose livers (banning foie gras!) while loving parents are denied the chance to talk with daughters over whether to have an abortion – a choice fraught with lifelong consequences...”

...A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision, authored by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, reaffirmed earlier this year that, “States unquestionably have the right to require parental involvement when a minor considers terminating her pregnancy, because of their strong and legitimate interest in the welfare of [their] young citizens, whose immaturity, inexperience, and lack of judgment may sometimes impair their ability to exercise their rights wisely.”