The Illinois Supreme Court ended a lengthy and emotionally charged legal appeal over an abortion notification law Thursday, clearing the way for the state to begin enforcing a 1995 measure that requires doctors to notify a girl's parents 48 hours before the procedure.
The court ruled unanimously to uphold a circuit court's earlier dismissal of a challenge to the law that was filed by a Granite City women's health clinic and a doctor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
After court battles that lasted nearly two decades, Illinois now joins 38 other states in requiring some level of parental notification. The law goes into effect in 35 days unless it's appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has found such laws to be constitutional elsewhere.
Opponents of the notification law had argued that it violated privacy and gender equality rights because young women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies and pregnancies. Supporters of the law, which was defended by the Illinois Attorney General's office, argued that parents would be deprived of basic rights if they were not notified of a daughter's decision to have an abortion.
Anti-abortion activists have long said Illinois was a haven for teens from states with stricter laws on the books seeking abortions.