Parental Notice of Abortion (PNA) Law Overview
Any person 17 or younger seeking access to abortion services in the state of Illinois on or after August 15, 2013 without having an adult family member notified by a doctor, might have to go to court to get a judicial waiver of the notification requirement (i.e., judicial bypass). Read article on the Huffington Post.
History has shown that people will access abortion by any means necessary. We need to ensure that young people access safe procedures performed by medical providers. Due to the stigma and shame of abortion, along with troubling parental/home/abusive circumstances suffered by at least a third of youth it is imperative that young people have unfettered access to abortion.
While research shows that most young people do consult a parent or caring adult before accessing abortion, the ACLU of IL and ICAH are working to help young people who are unable to do so (for safety, confidentiality or any other reason) obtain access to a judicial bypass of parental notification. This is critical.
While a young person can have an abortion without getting the consent (permission) of a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian, the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion (PNA) law requires their medical provider to notify an adult family member (someone over 21 who is your parent, grandparent, step-parent who lives with the young person, or a legal guardian) 48 hours before performing the abortion. They DO NOT have to tell anyone if:
- Either parent, any grandparent, a step-parent who lives with the young person, or a legal guardian goes to the doctor with the young person.
- Either parent, any grandparent, a step-parent who lives with the young person, or a legal guardian gives up their right to notice in writing.
- The young person gives their medical provider a written statement that says they are a victim of sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse by either parent, any grandparent, a step-parent who lives with the young person or a legal guardian. If they provide a written statement, be aware that their medical provider may be required to report the abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services after the abortion.
- The doctor decides that there is a medical emergency.
- The young person is married, divorced or widowed. They must be at least 16 and have consent from both parents in order to get married in Illinois.
- They are emancipated. Their petition for emancipation must have been approved by a judge because they are at least 16 and can show that they are mature enough to manage their own affairs or they are a homeless minor in Illinois and fully or mostly independent of their parents or guardian.
- The young person gets a parental notice waiver from the court after a successful “judicial bypass” hearing.
A young person can choose to notify whichever adult family member (someone who is your parent, grandparent, step-parent who lives with you, or a legal guardian) they want to.
What is Notification?
Notification means informing. The law does not require that an adult family member give consent (permission) for the young person to have an abortion. If a young person tells an adult family member and they disagree with the decision, the young person can still have the abortion.
If a young person decides to notify an adult family member, their clinic or doctor can give notice to the adult family member:
- In person
- By phone
- By certified mail (Only if notice in person or by phone is not possible after reasonable effort)
If a young person is unable or unwilling to tell an adult family member about their decision to have an abortion, they can request a “judicial bypass“ from the court. (See Need Help? page.)
A young person should NEVER give false information as a way to get out of the “parental notice” requirement.