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Anti-abortion group wants Illinois to enforce parental notice -- now

An anti-abortion group is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to order immediate enforcement of a state law requiring physicians to notify a minor's parent or legal guardian at least 48 hours before performing an abortion. The Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 was blocked from taking effect for more than a decade until the high court in 2006 finally issued mandated rules allowing young women to ask a court to bypass the notice requirement. It would be up to the court to decide if a waiver is in the minor's best interest. After additional litigation, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July upheld the law's constitutionality in Zbaraz v. Madigan and dissolved a long-standing injunction preventing its implementation. The statute took effect Aug. 4. But concerns from the medical community about compliance prompted the state medical board to delay enforcement of the law by three months. Under the act, any doctor who does not act in good faith to obey the law would face a misdemeanor charge as well as disciplinary action by the medical board. In an Aug. 5 announcement, the agency said it wanted to give physicians more time to institute new protocols "to ensure both compliance with the act and protection of patients' medical care" and "to effectively counsel their minor patients about all of their options." But Chicago's Thomas More Society, a faith-based law firm, and a group of parents that oppose abortion say doctors have had plenty of time to get up to speed. They allege that the medical board lacked the legal authority to change the rules, according to a petition filed Aug. 31 with the Illinois Supreme Court. The Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation, Illinois' medical board, is reviewing the case, said spokeswoman Susan Hofer. She declined to comment further. The Illinois State Medical Society has not taken a position on the matter. Illinois is among 35 states that have abortion parental consent or notice laws, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that supports worldwide advances in reproductive health and tracks related policy. The full and original story can be found here: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/09/14/gvsd0916.htm
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