For Immediate Release
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN ON PARENTAL NOTICE OF ABORTION LITIGATION
Chicago - As many of you know, a recent Illinois Supreme Court action has brought to the forefront a case that had been dormant for many years. In 1995, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Edgar signed into law the Parental Notice of Abortion Act. In February 1996, the United States District Court in Chicago permanently enjoined the enforcement of this Act because the Illinois Supreme Court had declined at that time to promulgate judicial bypass rules as required by the Act and the United States Constitution.
On September 20, 2006, more than ten years after the entry of the permanent injunction, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously adopted judicial bypass rules through the adoption of Rule 303A, Expedited and Confidential Proceedings Under the Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
Based on the Illinois Supreme Court’s adoption of the judicial bypass rules required under the Act, I have now asked the District Court to resolve this longstanding lawsuit. Today, my office filed a motion on behalf of the State of Illinois in David Zbaraz, M.D., et al., v. Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois, and Richard A. Devine, State’s Attorney of Cook County.
In this motion, I have asked the District Court to lift the permanent injunction and allow the Parental Notice of Abortion Act to take effect as soon as the Illinois courts are administratively prepared to handle judicial bypass petitions.
I have asked the District Court to allow time for the Illinois courts to administratively prepare to handle these cases for very practical reasons. The judicial bypass process called for in the Parental Notice of Abortion Act is a new procedure for the Illinois courts and, most importantly, for the busy Circuit Courts throughout the state. At this point, the Chief Judges of the Circuit Courts have not had an opportunity to consider how best to approach these cases to make sure that the judges and court staff are prepared and that young women seeking this bypass are afforded true and complete access to our judicial system in the confidential and expeditious manner required.
To assist the Illinois courts in preparing for these cases, I have asked the District Court to appoint a Special Master who will work with the Illinois courts and report to the District Court on the status of this process. I have recommended that the District Court appoint Zaldwaynaka (Z) Scott as the Special Master. Ms. Scott, a partner at Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, is an exceptionally experienced attorney, having served as an Assistant United States Attorney for 16 years and, most recently, as the Executive Inspector General for the State of Illinois.
As the chief legal officer of the State of Illinois, it is my duty to uphold the Constitution and to defend the laws of this state if they are constitutional. Since the Illinois Supreme Court’s action in September 2006, my staff and I have thoroughly reviewed the history of this Act and the extensive litigation surrounding it. We also carefully analyzed the many federal court decisions reviewing and upholding parental notice laws enacted by other states. At this point, forty-four states have parental involvement laws, and courts have upheld many parental notice laws that are similar to the Act. As the Attorney General, I will fulfill my oath to the people of Illinois. I have done so since my first day in office and continue to do so with today’s filing.