The on-going court battle in Illinois over the state’s permanently-enjoined parental notification law has once again brought parental involvement laws to the forefront of the cultural and legal fight against abortion. Accompanying the increasing cultural acceptance of abortion is a proportionate increase in the necessity for parental involvement laws. The promotion of sex-with-no-consequences in America has generated a high demand for abortion, including abortions for minors. These abortions present a host of issues not present in adult abortions: (1) the state’s interest in protecting the health and welfare of minors; (2) the state’s interest in protecting the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children; (3) immature minors’ lack of ability to make fully-informed decisions that take into account both immediate and long-range medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abortion; and (4) ensuring care that takes into account her medical history.
In light of the differences between minor and adult abortions, how important are parental involvement laws? How have the courts and legislatures treated parental involvement laws? And in the absence of parental involvement laws, what is at stake for minors and parents?
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