Bishop Paprocki called the move “a dark and disgraceful moment in the history of the State of Illinois.”
Illinois lawmakers have struck down a law which would require minors to notify their parents in order to get an abortion. The repeal of the law, which had only been in effect for about nine years, has drawn harsh criticism from Catholic leaders.
The state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act was enacted in 1995, but washeld up in court battles until 2013. Since then pregnant minors were required to receive parental consent before an abortion could proceed. In rare cases in which the parents could not be reached, a minor could appeal to a judge for permission.
It is estimated that around 1,100 Illinois minors underwent abortions in 2020.
The repeal was signed by Governor J. B. Pritzker on December 17, 2021, and went into effect on June 1, 2022. In a press conference announcing the repeal, Pritzker noted that the decision was made before the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v Wade.
“But let me be clear: no matter what atrocity of an opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe versus Wade – abortion will always be safe and legal here in Illinois,” Pritzker stated at the conference.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, was quick to call out the repeal as “a dark and disgraceful moment in the history of the State of Illinois.” According to Catholic News Agency, the prelate said that the move violates the rights of parents to ensure the “health and safety” of their children.
“This is a right and responsibility that God grants, and which no government can take away. In attempting to do so, this legislation acts directly against God’s will, which is the very definition of evil … This most heinous offense against God and neighbor [abortion] is now made more easily accessible to minor children than tattoos or getting their ears pierced,” Bishop Paprocki said.
In another report, CNA’s Jonah McKeown noted that the Parental Notification of Abortion law had actually been supported by the majority of Illinois residents. A poll taken in 2021 found that 72% of Illinois voters believed that parents should be notified when their daughter seeks an abortion. These responses included 58% of those who described themselves as pro-choice.
Amy Gehrke, Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life, also addressed this public sentiment, which she said “ignores” the wishes of parents and the role they play in the decisions regarding their minor children.
“This is yet another example of Governor Pritzker ignoring the wishes of his constituents in favor of appeasing his friends in the abortion industry. Governor Pritzker has left young girls at the mercy of sexual predators. Pritzker has told parents they don’t matter,” Gehrke said.