An underage patient or minor is considered a child and under the legal custody of a parent or guardian. A minor is:
- Under the age of 18.
- Has never been married.
- Has not been legally emancipated. (An emancipated minor has legally been released from the care, responsibility, and control of one’ parents or legal guardians by the State they live in.)
The State of Illinois has enacted an Illinois Parental Notification of Abortion Act.
Illinois law requires all Abortion Care Facilities in Illinois to notify a parent or adult family member if a woman age 17 or younger seeks an abortion. Notification is required for both Medical and Surgical abortions. Notifications must be made at a minimum of 48 hours before the procedure. In some cases, a judge can issue a waiver so that notification is not required.
The adult family member does not have to give permission for the minor to have an abortion, but an adult family member must be notified. U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that States may not give parents an absolute veto over their daughter’s decision to have an abortion.
Minors in Illinois do have authority to consent to other aspects of reproductive health care (e.g., contraception, STI treatment) and there is no state law that requires disclosure to parents.
Notification can occur in the following ways:
- An adult family member can come to the appointment with the minor and waive the right to 48 hours’ notice.
- An adult family member can sign a letter that says she waives notice and the 48-hour waiting period, which the minor brings to her provider.
- Notification can occur via phone with the family member.
If your family member and/or legal guardian comes with you to your procedure, that person will fill out a form in the office acknowledging that they had been notified.
If a minor lives in a state other than Illinois but wants to have an abortion in Illinois, the minor must still have an adult family member notified or go through the Illinois judicial bypass system.
An example of a Notification Letter that can be filled out is below. It is against the law for anyone to sign this written waiver of notification if he or she is not the adult family member listed on the letter.
Dear Abortion Care Provider,
This letter confirms that I am aware that (write minor’s name here) is having an abortion.
I am over 21 years of age and my relationship to (write minor’s name here) is: (check below)
- I am her parent
- I am her grandparent
- I am her step-parent and I live in the same household as her
- I am her legal guardian
It is important to note that the State of Illinois does not recognize Aunts, Siblings, Cousins, or Mom of the Male involved as Family Members.
The family member only needs to sign the form if they are waiving the right to a 48hr notification. The Minor must sign both the forms we use at our Centers. There is no need to Waive the right to a 48 hr notice if they have already been notified over 48 hours in advance.
If a minor feels like they cannot notify their adult family member and/or legal guardian, they can contact the Illinois Judicial Bypass System for free, confidential assistance. Translators are available.
Monday through Friday – 5 to 10 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday – Noon to 5 p.m.
For minors under 18 years of age in foster care or otherwise wards of the state, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has decreed that the foster parent shall instruct the physician to contact the youth’s DCFS legal guardian (D. Jean Ortega-Piron) at the following phone numbers:
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., call the Consent Line at 800-828-2179.
After hours, holidays and weekends, call the Emergency Reception Center (ERC) at 773-538-8800.
If the Department of Children and Family Services has only protective custody or temporary custody of the minor, the foster parent shall instruct the physician to call the youth’s parent, grandparent, step-parent living in the household, or legal guardian (not the DCFS Guardian).
If a minor provides a signed statement declaring that she is a victim of sexual abuse or physical abuse or neglect by an adult family member notification may be bypassed. However, with this written statement from the minor seeking anabortion, a health provider would be required to report abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and FamilyServices after the abortion. If the minor would like to make their own report, the number is 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873).
If a minor uses a parent’s insurance coverage to pay for care, an explanation of benefits may be sent to the parents asholders of the insurance policy. Young people can request direct receipt of the documents by contacting their insurance company to ensure confidentiality.