Friday, July 12, 2013

"Teenaged" law will focus on girls who weren't born yet when it was enacted

I often think back to the two-year period (1995-96) when Republicans controlled everything about Illinois government.

Which is why I was amused to learn that the Supreme Court of Illinois issued an opinion Thursday that upheld one of that ideologically-inclined Legislature’s most partisan act.

IT ONLY TOOK 18 years -- which makes it a "teenaged" new law. That may sound extreme. But if one considers how long issues such as a new Chicago-area airport near Peotone and new casinos for Chicago have lingered, perhaps this isn’t all that extreme.

The issue under review on this particular bill was abortion. Specifically, requiring young girls (under 18, to be specific) to inform their parents if they have any desire to terminate a pregnancy.

There were provisions allowing for girls who could convince a judge that their home situations were too dangerous and that a legitimate reason for excluding the parents (such as a case where a father impregnates his teenage daughter) to get around the parental notification.

But it also set the standards for such waivers so high that it was apparent the purpose of the bill was to make it all the more difficult for a young woman to even consider abortion as an option – which is the admitted strategy of the anti-abortion activists.

IF IT HAS to be illegal, burden it with so much bureaucratic minutia and partisan regulation that most women wind up being able to obtain one in a timely enough manner to comply with the laws that recognize abortion as a legitimate medical procedure.

The activists who support women having access to abortion as an option fought this case all the way through the courts, where it became tangled up in the time-consuming legalese that causes delays for many issues.

In fact, the knowledge that there’d be a legal battle is why – even after passing the bill in the spring of 1995 – the state never made any effort to enforce the new law.

But that delay is now over. The Thomas More Society, which likes to get involved in legal cases related to abortion, says it expects enforcement to take place “within a matter of days.”

WHILE BOTH PLANNED Parenthood and Personal PAC (which supports elected officials who support abortion rights) were upset the fight ended negatively for them, with the latter calling Thursday “a dark day” for young women.

It may be so, since it was clear when the Republican-run Legislature of nearly two decades ago passed this particular measure, they were interested in making an ideological statement.

They weren’t interested in addressing the realities that not everyone comes from the picture-perfect family situation – always trying to claim this was a matter of parents being allowed to be involved in their children’s lives.

I personally lost track of the number of times I heard the talking point about a teenage girl needing parental permission to have an aspirin in school, but did not require it to end a pregnancy.

THE WORLD ISN’T as clear-cut a place to live in as some of the conservative ideologues would like to believe – largely because not everyone fits into the narrow vision of what people ought to be like.

As for the outcome, this particular issue is resolved – although I wonder if the Democratic-dominated Legislature we have now would try to take on a measure that repeals the new law.

Although considering this is a Democratic-dominated Legislature that got tangled up in bureaucratic nonsense when it came to gay marriage this spring, I would expect the same non-outcome on an abortion-related issue.

Although the larger point may well be to remember this issue as an example for those people who complain about Democrats running everything in Illinois government.

DEMOCRATS WHO CAN’T even “play nice” with each other can’t agree on much, while the Republican ideologues like to ram through these social issues to impose their will on us all

Your pick as to which is worse!


No comments: