The absolute need to protect our children has been top of mind for countless individuals this past week. As the stories out of Uvalde, Texas have grown more and more unthinkable many parents, myself included, are realizing our children’s safety must be a top priority when it comes to policy decisions..
In the shadow of last week’s horror in Texas the actions of Governor J.B. Pritzker, along with many of his friends in the Illinois legislature, are putting minor girls in Illinois and throughout the Midwest in grave danger. Tomorrow, the repeal of Illinois’s Parental Notice of Abortion (PNA) law, goes into effect. This completely usurps the rights of parents to protect their children and puts our girls at the mercy of those who seek to do them harm.
Illinois’s PNA law was a commonsense measure that simply required abortion providers to notify parents that their minor daughters, aged 17 and younger, were going to have an abortion. Parents were not required to give consent, they were just to be notified at least 48 hours before the abortion was performed
Legislation to repeal PNA was introduced by Rep. Anna Moeller and Sen. Elgie Sims in the 2021 General Assembly, but the bill died in committee at the end of the legislative session. Last October, the repeal of PNA was tacked onto a youth health bill during the Veto Session. In a flurry of lobbying and deal-making, supporters of PNA repeal were able to secure the necessary votes. PNA repeal was rushed to a vote and passed in both chambers. Governor Pritzker signed the legislation late on a Friday the week before Christmas when he could largely avoid the media spotlight.
Governor Pritzker claimed that repealing Parental Notice of Abortion was necessary to protect girls from abusive homes. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Illinois’s PNA law contained a blanket waiver to protect such girls. In Illinois, minor girls cannot get their ears pierced or go on a school field trip without their parents’ consent, yet Governor Pritzker is allowing them to obtain abortions without their parents even being notified.
The repeal of PNA denies young girls the opportunity for appropriate physical or emotional counsel or care before, during, or after their abortion. It encourages secrecy and even lies between children and those who love them most. The only adults who will know about a girl’s abortion are those who will benefit from it.
Who will benefit from the repeal of Parental Notice of Abortion? Human traffickers and sexual predators most certainly will. Governor Pritzker has given them tremendous help in covering their crimes with abortion..
Dr. Brook Bello is a sex trafficking survivor and founder of More Too Life, an organization that helps women escape trafficking. She reports that practically every victim of sex trafficking has had multiple forced abortions, often at young ages. Bello says that, had her parents been notified before one of her many abortions, she would have been rescued from her traffickers much sooner than she was.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 32 percent of teen mothers between the ages of 15 and 17 are impregnated by men older than 20. These statutory rapists can now easily cover their crimes with abortion in Illinois. This is not hyperbole – we know this happens.
One example: Before Illinois’s PNA law went into effect in 2013, Indiana principal Peter Downey brought a 16-year-old student he had impregnated to Chicago for a secret abortion. Downey was arrested for his crimes just last year. It is naiive to think that similar scenarios will not again play out now that PNA is no longer in effect in Illinois.
This story also illustrates the fact that PNA repeal does not just affect young women in our state. Girls from any state can come to Illinois for an abortion without their parents’ knowledge.
The other prime beneficiary of PNA repeal is the abortion industry itself. Beginning in 2013, when PNA went into effect, the number of minor girls obtaining abortions began steadily dropping. Illinois Department of Public Health reports show that this number decreased an average of 36 percent each year. This, of course, meant a great deal of lost revenue to the abortion industry.
A full 72 percent of Illinois voters, including 55 percent who identified as pro-choice, supported PNA according to a March 2021 Tarrance poll. By signing the repeal of PNA, Governor Pritzker and abortion advocates in our legislature have made clear that they care more about protecting human traffickers and the profits of their friends in the abortion industry than they do about protecting the rights of parents and the safety of young girls.