News on the Fight to Save Parental Notice

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Minority Voters Want Parental Notification of Abortion to Remain Illinois Law

African American Parent and Pastor Urges Lawmakers to Not Denigrate Minority Families

May 12, 2021—Springfield, IL

Illinois’ minority families face multiple disadvantages, including statistically lower incomes as well as educational and health disparities. Why would the state’s lawmakers deliberately make the situation worse by repealing an existing law that two-thirds of minority voters support? That’s a question being asked by Parents for the Protection of Girls, a coalition of Illinois leaders dedicated to protecting girls from medical injury and sexual abuse and fighting the repeal of Illinois’ long standing Parental Notification of Abortion law.


Jon Jones, an African American parent and a pastor at the Tinley Park campus of Christian Life Center, is very concerned about the attempt that some legislators are making to repeal the law. He spoke at a recent press conference urging lawmakers to consider the facts and keep the current law in place.


On May 11, 2021, a video link was emailed to each of Illinois’ State Senators and State Representatives featuring testimony by Jones, who referenced a March 2021 poll of Illinois voters by the Tarrance Group, reporting that 72% of overall respondents support the requirement that an adult family member be notified prior to an abortion. That number was even higher among people of color.


“It's worth noting that 76% of minority men and 74% percent of minority women support this law,” Jones remarked, adding that, “It's clear that this law has the support of many across our state and it should not be repealed.”


“I am the father of a teenage girl,” Jones stated, “I love my daughter and I care very deeply about what goes on in her life. If she were to get pregnant and consider an abortion, I would want to know so my wife and I could help her deal with the unexpected situation because we love her. We feel it is our duty to protect and guide her. We are family and we deal with matters together. The state should not seek to interfere with our relationship.”


“The current law requiring that a parent or an adult family member be notified when a minor girl is seeking an abortion to us just makes common sense in a supportive family, which is the bedrock of society,” explained Jones. “I understand not every child comes from a home like ours and the needs of those children must be met - as they are in this law with the provided exemptions to notification - but it is also important to weigh the needs of loving families and ensure the government not do more to denigrate them.”


In addition to respecting parental rights and acknowledging that current law already provides for those situations in which minors may be at serious risk of violence or abuse, Jones believes that it is worth looking at other existing laws regulating the behavior of minors.


“When our state laws ensure that children can't make their own decisions for accessing tanning beds, tattoos, or tobacco use, it seems unfathomable that the law would allow a minor to make a decision to access abortion without any adult guidance,” added Jones. “We know the potential severe physical and emotional consequences associated with abortion. “We cannot leave our children to face them alone.”


View the video testimony of Pastor Jon Jones here.


Read the Fact Sheet from Parents for the Protection of Girls here.

 

Abortion Rivals Can Find Common Ground Over Illinois Parental Notice

Social Justice Trailblazer Urges Illinois Voters to Work Together to Safeguard Vulnerable Minors

April 26, 2021—Wheaton, IL

Social justice trailblazer Renee Pollino is calling for both pro-choice and pro-life activists to come together and protect young girls by urging Illinois’ lawmakers not to repeal the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Pollino’s message was shared April 26 with legislators by Parents for the Protection of Girls, a coalition of voters concerned about the proposed repeal of the law that was established in 1995 to protect minors.


Pollino, who operates a coffeehouse dedicated to fighting human trafficking, addictions, extreme poverty, and other societal problems, is on track with the idea that Parental Notification of Abortion is what Illinois voters want, regardless of their stance on abortion. According to a recent poll by The Tarrance Group, 58 percent of pro-choice voters support the current parental notice law.


“Regardless of what side of fence you are on politically, religiously,” Pollino said, speaking to a mixed group of pro-choice and pro-life voters, “We can all agree that young girls need to be protected.”


“We have incredible laws that are there for a reason,” continued Pollino. “The purpose of laws is to protect citizens - especially the vulnerable young girls who are trafficked and exploited.”


Pollino points out that abortion is a surgery or a medical procedure.


When girls have abortions, Pollino emphasized, “It’s really important that they get the medical attention they need, in the aftermath as well, so that they can recover and be cared for.”


In a recent gathering at My Half of the Sky, Pollino’s social justice coffee shop in Wheaton, Illinois, State Representative Amy Grant spoke about the proposed legislation to repeal Illinois’ long-standing Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Grant sits on the Illinois House Human Services Committee of the 102nd Illinois General Assembly. One detail that was clarified is that the current law does not seek parental consent, only notification, which is to be made by the abortion provider.


Pollino, a passionate activist, addressed the crowd that had gathered to learn about the legislative threat to parental notice. A key concern is the unrestricted access that a potential repeal would grant sexual abusers of minors.


“The way trafficking looks in America,” explained Pollino, noting that the sex trafficker is usually a much older man, “They become the boyfriend…A lot of times we think they're stolen, or they're taken.” More frequently, she shared, “We have young girls being manipulated and coerced by traffickers who claim to be their boyfriend, who love on them, shower them emotionally, coerce them and control them. There are usually no chains or being hidden in dark rooms. These are girls who are emotionally coerced and controlled.”


“The average age of a girl who's trafficked in the United States is 13,” stated Pollino, who works with survivors of sex trafficking. “There hasn't been one woman who's worked for me or that I've been friends with who is a [sex trafficking] survivor who hasn't had numerous abortions as a minor.” She described how one exploited woman’s first abortion was when she was eight years old, the first of five coerced abortions.


“Human trafficking is a serious issue and traffickers should never get a clear path to further exploiting girls,” Pollino stressed, adding that our laws “shouldn't make it easy for them.”

Pollino shared how parental notification becomes a deterrent, telling the story of a woman whose daughter was trafficked, missing for six years, and searched for by the FBI. During that time, the girl had three abortions. If parental notification had been in play for this situation, this girl would have been located much sooner.


Of Illinois’ Parental Notification of Abortion Act, Pollino underscored, “This law is really important.” She said that is because we need, “to have some accountability so that traffickers do not continue to further exploit and abuse young girls.”


Parents for the Protection of Girls sent Pollino’s video presentation to state lawmakers in an effort to inform them of the great risk presented to young girls by the proposed HB 1797 and SB 2190.


View the video presentation by social justice activist Renee Pollino here [https://vimeo.com/540667067].


Learn how parental notification repeal opens doors for predators, with the fact sheet from Parents for the Protection of Girls here [https://www.dropbox.com/s/uc44x0u5mdw53pq/TCPR%20PNA%20Fact%20Sheet_4_12_21_NEW.pdf].

 

Registered Nurse: Abortion advocates want to overturn the Illinois Parental Notification Law. Here’s why that’s a bad idea.

April 22, 2021

At LiveAction.org, registered nurse Anne Marie Williamson wrote about the fight to overturn parental notice in Illinois:

Those in favor of parental notification repeal object to the “intrusive questioning” pregnant teens are “forced to undergo” during the judicial bypass process, where teens who feel unsafe or otherwise object to notifying their parents of their abortion decision can petition a judge to waive the notification requirement. An article by Human Rights Watch claims, “The hearings can involve a lot of intrusive questioning about how the pregnancy happened, what abortion entails, what the side effects or risks could be, what birth control methods will be used. I mean, imagine someone of any age going before a judge and talking about your sex life or your birth control decisions and your understanding of abortion care, let alone someone who is young and facing all the stigma that exists around young people having sex. How distressing that must be.”


In framing minors as poor, pathetic children who may wilt under questioning by a judge, HRW unwittingly acknowledges the very reality that these girls are minors, not adults. In other circumstances, teen girls can’t even take a Tylenol at school or get their ears pierced without parental permission, not just notification.


HRW’s simultaneous insistence that teen girls be treated like adults fully capable of permitting the life of their own child to be violently ended, and yet also treated like children who are incapable of having mature conversations with a judge, is illogical.

Read the whole article at LiveAction.org

 

ChurchMilitant.com: PROTECT GIRLS, NOT ABORTIONIST AND SEX TRAFFICKERS

April 19, 2021

Catholic news website ChurchMilitant.com featured a story on the fight to save the Parental Notice of Abortion Act in Illinois:

While Illinois legislators want to change the law to prevent parental notification of abortions, most voters reject doing so. According to a poll by the Virginia-based Tarrance Group, 72% of state voters prefer parents or guardians be notified when a minor girl is seeking an abortion. Conducted March 7–10, 600 voters registered in Illinois responded to the poll, which claimed a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1%. 

Attorney Mary FioRito, speaking for Parents for the Protection of Girls while referencing the poll in a news release related, "Even 58% of voters that self-describe as 'pro-choice' wish to see the law retained. Support is higher among voters in minority communities, with more than three out of four people of color favoring parental notice."


The powerful pro-abortion American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign and Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health are among the organizations demanding repeal of the notification law . . .  

Read the whole article at ChurchMilitant.com

 

Sex trafficking expert Dr. Brook Bello appears on the Drew Mariani show on Relevant Radio

April 16, 2021

On Friday, April 16, Relevant Radio host Drew Mariani interviewed Dr. Brook Bello of More Too Life on the connection between sex trafficking and abortion, as well as the fight to save the Parental Notice of Abortion Act in Illinois. Listen below:

 
 

Media Alert: Parents for the Protection of Girls Coalition Sends Illinois Legislators a Wake-Up Call

Video Gives First-Hand Account of Link Between Sex Trafficking and Absence of Parental Notice of Abortion Laws

April 13, 2021—Springfield, IL

As Illinois legislators consider proposed legislation to repeal Illinois’ long-standing Parental Notice of Abortion Act, a coalition of Parents for the Protection of Girls has reached out to state lawmakers with an eye-opening message. On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, a video link was emailed to each of Illinois’ State Senators and State Representatives featuring testimony by Dr. Brook Bello, a GOOGLE Next Gen Policy Leader and recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama. In the video, Bello urges lawmakers to not put aside girls’ health and safety over conditions that will enable predatory behaviors.

Dr. Bello is also a sex-trafficking survivor. Bello speaks to the dangers of repealing Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act. She shares how HB 1797 and SB 2190 will enable sexual predators increased ability to conceal their sexual abuse of minor girls and put these children at greater risk of physical and emotional harm.

In the video sent to lawmakers, Bello draws attention to the direct link between human trafficking, abortion, and abortion clinics. She shares her own tragic story of being trafficked and relates how multiple abortions during this time prevented her from having her own children later in life. Bello surmises that if only her mother had been notified, the likelihood of her rescue out of sex trafficking would have been dramatically increased.


Bello is the founder of More Too Life, an anti-trafficking organization dedicated to mentoring survivors and providing training to recognize and combat human trafficking. Knowing what she does about parental involvement as a deterrent to being at risk for sex trafficking, Bello speaks strongly against the removal of this important protection for minor girls.


Parents for the Protection of Girls spokesperson, Mary FioRito, an attorney, noted scholar, and mother of three teenage girls, says that the coalition wants Illinois legislators to understand that an overwhelming majority of Illinois voters support the presence of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act.


“March 2021 polling conducted in Illinois by The Tarrance Group, an independent research firm, reports that 72 percent of the state’s voters favor parental notice of abortion,” stated FioRito. “Even 58 percent of voters that self-describe as ‘pro-choice’ wish to see the law retained. Support is higher among voters in minority communities, with more than three out of four people of color favoring parental notice.”

View the video testimony of sex trafficking survivor Dr. Brook Bello here.

Learn how Parental Notification Repeal Opens Doors for Predators, with the Fact Sheet from Parents for the Protection of Girls here.

 

Statement of the Illinois Catholic Bishops

March 19, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


We, the diocesan bishops of Illinois, write today out of great concern. Bills have been introduced before the Illinois General Assembly to repeal Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act. They are House Bill 1797 and Senate Bill 2190. The enactment of this legislation would lead to tragic and irreversible outcomes.


The Parental Notice of Abortion Act simply requires that when a minor girl seeks to have an abortion, a parent or guardian is notified 48 hours before the procedure. The obvious hope of the law is that parents, by their deep love and moral obligation, will act to protect, support and guide their children. In every other facet of life, we are taught – and we teach – that parental involvement is key to the child’s best interest. Repealing the Act is nothing less than an invasion into the sacred space of family life by the state, with no provision to support the minor emotionally, humanely or materially at a critical moment in her life.


It is unfortunately true that not all young people come from loving homes. In these cases, when the threat of abuse or neglect outweighs the rights of parents, the current law allows a young girl the opportunity to declare in writing that there is abuse, or she can seek an emergency hearing before a judge to explain her situation. We acknowledge that this can be emotionally difficult; however, such difficulty must be weighed against the harm done when our laws effectively undermine family life by separating children from the care of parents who love them the most. The state should do everything to support families, not destabilize them.


The existing Parental Notice of Abortion Act provides important safeguards against the evils of sexual abuse and human trafficking. If a minor girl can be taken by any adult man to an abortion clinic, in the hopes of erasing the evidence of his abuse, what protection exists outside of the girl’s parent or guardian being informed? Why would we want to create such a dangerous environment?


Simply put, the Parental Notice of Abortion Act works. According to statistics gathered by the Illinois Department of Public Health, since the law’s final enactment by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2013, abortions performed on minors in Illinois have decreased over 30 percent. The lives saved by this law are real and present among us.


These are the reasons every state in the Midwest and 37 states overall have laws requiring some form of parental involvement in the decision of a minor to have an abortion. Illinois has been among those states for 8 years and no obvious problems or detriments have been publicly exposed. The repeal of Parental Notice of Abortion is a tragic solution in search of a problem.

So what can you do? As Catholics of good will, we call on you to engage your elected officials – state representatives, state senators and the Governor – and urge them to oppose House Bill 1797 and Senate Bill 2190.

Possible methods of contact include phone calls, letters, emails, and Zoom meetings between legislators and you, their concerned constituents. For all of these efforts, you will need to be able to identify your legislators and secure the appropriate contact information. Here is how:


Visit the Catholic Conference of Illinois’ website – www.ilcatholic.org – scroll nearly to the bottom of the homepage, click on “Find Your Legislator” and input the asked-for information. Doing this will identify one’s state elected officials, and simply clicking on their names will provide the contact information.

In our concern for all human life, and particularly for the struggles of young girls in these difficult circumstances and their unborn children, we ask you to participate in this effort. Together we are strong, and we can make a difference. Thank you.


Sincerely,

His Eminence Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Archbishop of Chicago


Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. Bishop of Peoria


Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki Bishop of Springfield


Most Reverend David J. Malloy Bishop of Rockford


Most Reverend Ronald A. Hicks Bishop of Joliet


Most Reverend Michael G. McGovern Bishop of Belleville

 

Media Advisory

March 15, 2021

WHAT: Parents for the Protection of Girls, a grassroots coalition formed for the purpose of urging the Illinois General Assembly to reject HB 1797 and SB 2190, legislation that would repeal the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act. For more information on Parents for the Protection of Girls, go to www.saveparentalnotification.com.

WHEN: Monday, March 15, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. (Central Time)

WHERE: Via virtual press conference through Blueroomstream streaming service. The press conference can be viewed here for 90 days:

WHO: Mary FioRito will serve as moderator and will also present results of a public opinion poll on parental notice of abortion. FioRito is an attorney and a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the deNicola Center for Ethics and Culture. She is also the mother of three teenage girls.


Speakers: (The speakers are representing themselves and are not part of Parents for the Protection of Girls.) Jon Jones, father of a teenage girl and a worship pastor at Christian Life Center, located in the Chicago suburbs of Tinley Park and Blue Island. (Pastor Jones has to leave the press conference early to officiate at a funeral.) Laura Lederer, an attorney who has studied human trafficking for more than 20 years and has co-authored the preeminent study on the connection between human trafficking, health care providers, and abortion, “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities” published by the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in the Winter 2014 issue of its Annals of Health Law; Dr. Brook Bello, who holds a doctorate in pastoral clinical counseling and is a survivor of human trafficking. Brook is the founder of More Too Life, an anti-trafficking organization dedicated to mentoring survivors and providing training to recognize and combat human trafficking. Dr. Jacque (pronounced Jackie) Pfeifer, a doctoral level psychologist with 28 years of experience in the mental health field who is licensed to practice in the state of Kansas. She currently owns and sees clients at Professional Association, a multi-specialty mental health private practice with locations in Leavenworth, Kansas and Olathe, Kansas.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Questions for speakers may be emailed to savepnaillinois@gmail.com. Include your name and media outlet.

Public Opinion Poll: A public opinion poll on parental notice of abortion in Illinois, along with other questions, was administered by The Tarrance Group, covering 600 Illinois registered voters during March 7-10, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 4.1%. The poll found that 72% of Illinoisans support maintaining parental notification for abortion. Any questions on the poll may be addressed to Brian Nienaber, vice president, The Tarrance Group, bnienaber@tarrance.com.