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Illinois Abortion Notification Law Hits State Supreme Court, Oral Arguments Begin

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Protesters march near the new Planned Parenthood location in Aurora, Ill., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007, during the facility's open house.
Protesters march near the new Planned Parenthood location in Aurora, Ill., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007, during the facility's open house.

Oral arguments began Thursday in the Illinois Supreme Court over the state's controversial parental notification law that requires girls 17 and younger to notify a parent prior to abortion procedures.

The law has been on the books since 1995, but has yet to be enforced due to a continuous series of legal challenges. Last summer, a state appeals court sent the notification law to a lower court to reevaluate a 2009 decision over its constitutionality, extending the injunction on its enforcement.

In this round, medical professionals are challenging the law, alleging that it violates the state's constitutional protection against gender discrimination and invasion of privacy, the Associated Press reports. But anti-abortion activists say parental notification is a logical requirement, and lawyers representing the attorney general say Illinois legal precedent requires more evidence to warrant a trial at all.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union are representing the plaintiff. The agency says the the notification requirement may negatively impact few women, but for those affected, it could pose a significant risk.

"The majority of young women do in fact involve a parent in their abortion decision," the ACLU's Lorie Chaiten told WBEZ. "But for those who don't, it is often for very good reason. And it is also often because they very seriously fear for their safety."

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