A Sex Trafficking Victim’s Message to the Illinois Legislature

There are many reasons to oppose the repeal of Illinois’ Parental Notification of Abortion Act. One leader in the fight against human trafficking, Dr. Brook Bello, PhD, has shared her personal experience to illustrate the importance of keeping the law in place. HB 1797 and SB 2190 would repeal Illinois’ commonsense Parental Notification of Abortion Law that requires minors to simply notify a parent, guardian, or close family member before having an abortion.

Bello is the founder and CEO of More Too Life, an organization that assists young women to escape from and find healing after sex trafficking, and has been recognized numerous times for her work.  In 2016 Dr. Bello received the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Advocate of the Year Award from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott. She has also been named a United Way Worldwide Hero.

At a March 15 press conference organized by Parents for the Protection of Girls, a coalition of organizations throughout Illinois working to protect Parental Notification (that includes Illinois Right to Life Action), Dr. Bello made an incredibly compelling plea to keep the law in place.

Dr. Bello emphasized that the repeal of Parental Notification would allow sexual predators to conceal their abuse of minor girls with abortion and put the health of these children at  risk.

At the March 15 press conference Bello asked, “Why would someone want to keep such a profound thing that affects the womb health, the health of the child throughout the child’s life, keep such a profound secret?”  She understands the gravity of the situation life few else do.

Dr. Bello was raped at 11 years old, and she was trafficked from the age of 13. “Our traffickers made us get abortions,” Bello explained. “Had our parents been notified, my mother would have known what city I was in, what street I was on.” Instead, her parents were completely kept in the dark about their daughter’s abuse and she continued to be trafficked for years.

Bello emphasized how parental notification laws would not only notify parents about their children possibly being trafficked, but would also notify parents in case there are medical complications or if their children might face future health problems related to their abortions. Bello explained how notification could have prevented such problems in her own life. 

“It wasn’t until later in life that my gynecologist asked, ‘What happened to you when you were young? Have you had any abortions?” 

The answer was yes, and those abortions harmed Bello’s fertility in an irreversible way. Her doctor explained to her that, “Had you found this out earlier we could have effectively dealt with all the scar tissue and you would have been able to have children.” The crushing realization that Bello’s infertility could have been prevented had her parents been notified is something Bello can’t emphasize enough to the Illinois legislature.

“I ask the Illinois legislature, ‘Why would you want a child to keep something secret that’s going to affect the rest of her life?’” Bello urges the public and the Illinois legislature that keeping the Parental Notification of Abortion Act in place is crucial to the health and wellbeing of the children of Illinois.

You can watch Dr. Bello’s testimony here. To watch the entire March 15 press conference hosted by Parents for the Protection of Girls, visit this link

Please share these links and tell your legislators to vote NO on HB 1797 and SB 2190! Our ability to protect Illinois’ parental notice law depends on your help in spreading the truth about this law and encouraging your friends, family, and neighbors to contact their legislators, as well.