Accessing Abortion in Illinois: A guide for health care and social service providers

This resource guide was initially created in 2014 by the University of Chicago a program of family planning. The guide provides resources to improve access to abortion., but this section is especially helpful for “health and social service providers advise pregnant persons who may be seeking abortion care in Illinois.”

  • Under Illinois law, a pregnant person who is under age 18 (a minor) can consent to an abortion on her own and does not need parental consent (permission).
  • However, all 50 states have laws that allow minors to consent to certain reproductive health services on their own
  • As of August 15, 2013, Illinois state law requires health care providers to notify an adult family member (defined by the law as a parent, legal guardian, grandparent or resident step-parent who is over 21) at least 48 hours before providing abortion care to patient under age 18.
  • State mandatory reporting laws require health care professionals to breach confidentiality in order to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse
  • Illinois’ law requires reporting of child abuse and neglect by mandated reporters to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS investigates cases of child sexual abuse when the perpetrator is a family member, a person living in the home of the child, or a person in a position of of trust or authority (e.g., teacher, babysitter, volunteer in a youth program).

Click here to read more information by visiting the guide online.

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Listen to Youth: Adult Allies Must Support the Repeal of Illinois’ Forced Parental Notification Law

by Renee Bracey Sherman

Check out the full article on RH Reality Check

As May comes to a close, so do National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month campaigns. Some of the conversations this monthhighlighted the need for comprehensive, age-appropriate health and sexuality education, and to ensure young people have access to contraception.

But sadly, it was also a month filled with messages that judge and shame pregnant and parenting teens and young women who seek abortion.

One place where the tension between supporting and shaming really comes through is in my home state of Illinois. The issues of young people, sex, pregnancy, parenting, andabortion have been heating up in recent years due to a fight around the implementation of the forced parental notification law.

The Parental Notice of Abortion Act requires an abortion provider to notify the parent or guardian of a young person age 17 or younger who’s seeking an abortion within 48 hours of the teen receiving care. If a young person does not feel they can go to their parent or guardian, there is a provision that allows them to request a bypass from a judge. Of course this is not a simple process—it requires navigating the complex court system, in addition to missing school to see a judge who might let their personal feelings about abortion block the young person’s access to reproductive health care. In a small town, where everyone knows each other, it can also mean that a young person loses any and all privacy around their medical decisions; shaming gossip spreads fast amongst the cornstalks…

Read more on RH Reality Check

Abortion-Seeking Minors’ Views on the Illinois Parental Notification Law: A Qualitative Study (2012)

UPDATE: While the parental involvement law was not in place in Illinois at the time the research was performed, the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion is now in effect.  Under this act, health care providers must notify an adult family member 48 hours before performing an abortion for a patient under 18 years old.  There are now a total of 39 states in the U.S. that have parental involvement laws in effect.

Researchers interviewed 30 women ages 14 to 17 who were seeking abortion services in Chicago to learn their opinions about the parental involvement law.

  • Participants were very concerned that the parental involvement law could harm minors.
    • Most participants believed that it is their private decision to choose who to tell or don’t tell, that parents are not necessarily the people they trust the most and that they will lose control over their bodies.  (Kavanagh et al., 2012. p.161)
    • “Many participants expressed concern that […] some parents might […] force [them] to continue the pregnancy” (Kavanagh et al., 2012. p.162)
    • Many participants fear unsupportive parents will physically or emotionally abuse them, kick them out of the house or be disappointed  with them (Kavanagh et al., 2012. p.162)
    • Participants did mention some benefits of the parental involvement law
      • They would be able to gain outside support during this difficult decision
      • Their parents or guardians would know if complications arise from the procedure
      • It would maintain a sense of trust between the parent/guardian and daughter
      • All states that mandate parental involvement also allow a judicial bypass option but participants view this option as another barrier to abortion. (Kavanagh et al., 2012. p.164)

Read more about the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act here and here

Read more about Parental Involvement in Minors’ Abortions here

Citation: Kavanagh, E.K., Lee, A., Hasselbacher, B.B., Tristan, S. and Gilliam, M. (2012). Abortion-Seeking Minors’ Views on the Illinois Parental Notification Law: A Qualitative Study.  Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Vol.44., Issue 3.,159-166.

PDF of the Article

Howard Brown Health Center (Chicago, IL)

Image Source: http://www.howardbrown.org/hb_locations.asp

Howard Brown Health Center was founded in 1974 and is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations.  Howard Brown Center is based in Chicago and serves men, women, infants, youth, and children through many health clinics and research centers.  For more information about Howard Brown Health Center’s history, click here.

Mission:

“Howard Brown exists to eliminate the disparities in health care experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness.”

The Howard Brown Health Center provides many services including:

  • Walk-in Clinic
  • STD & HIV Rapid Testing
  • Transgender Health
  • HIV/STD Prevention & Services
  • Youth services
  • Elder services
  • Community initiatives
  • Alternative Insemination (AI) Program
  • Case Management
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • Domestic Violence Support
  • Workshops & Support Groups

Howard Brown Health Center offers discounted health services to qualifying patients who are uninsured and have low income.  They also accept many insurance plans, in addition to Medicaid and Medicare.

For a list of locations, hours and specific services, click here.

For health related matters, please phone Howard Brown Health Center at 773-288-1600.  For urgent health issues, please call 911.

Connect with them via Facebook or Twitter.

Medical and Public Health Sexual Health Education Recommendations (2007)

This fact sheet issued by ICAH reviews the recommendations for Sexual Health Education in schools by Medical and Public Health organizations such as:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Medical Association
  • World Health Organization
  • American Public Health Association
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Society for Adolescent Medicine

These organizations recommend that Sexual Health Education programs should include the following topics:

  • Abstinence
  • Basics of reproduction
  • Human development (puberty)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Contraceptives and other barrier methods
  • Communication and behavioral skills (negotiation, refusal, etc)
  • Relationships (familial, sexual, platonic)
  • Information about access and/or condom availability
  • Sexual orientation and gender
  • Decision -making, values, and responsibility

In addition to these topics, some organizations have further recommendations or guidance on Sexual Health Education.

To view the fact sheet click HERE

For further information regarding National Education Standards for Sexual Health Education please visit Futureofsexeducation.org for PDF handouts of the standards for grades K-12.

Curricula Assessment Tool (2007)

The Curricula Assessment Tool was designed by the ICAH to serve as a guide for Teachers, Administrators, Students, Parents and Members of the community working to ensure that the sex education curriculum being taught meets high standards for content and focus.

Acting as a checklist, the form provides the items required by the state of Illinois to be included in the sex education curriculum as well as items that meet the health learning standards for the State Board of Education.

You can view and download the form below.

Curriculum Assessment Tool 2007

The Teen Parenting Service Network (TPSN) (Illinois)

The Teen Parenting Service Network (TPSN) works exclusively with pregnant and parenting youth in Illinois Department of Children and Family Services care throughout Illinois. The Teen Parenting Service Network provides an array of service to youth in care and can link youths to professionals who can assist with case management, education, parenting classes and support groups.

In addition to providing resources for pregnant and parenting youth, the website also provides resources and information about education, money & job search, housing, life skills, healthy living, and the legal system.

Click here to go to the Teen Parenting Service Network website

Housing Crisis – Pregnant and Parenting Youth (2004)

ICAH_logo

This fact sheet discusses the housing crisis for pregnant and parenting youth in Illinois based on a study done in 2004.  According to statistics:

  • In 2002, there were 18,546 births to women under the age of 20 in Illinois.
  • A statewide survey of social service providers conducted by the Center for Impact Research (CIR) found that 26% of pregnant or parenting youth age 21 and under are living in unsafe or unstable conditions.
  • In the CIR survey, 61% of pregnant and parent youth living in unsafe or unstable conditions were in need of immediate alternatives to their current living arrangements.
  • Reasons for needing alternative living arrangements ranged from the lack of a permanent place to stay to financial, physical, sexual or emotional abuse of the young parent and his or her child.
  • 31% of those needing alternative living arrangements were either transient or living in a shelter or car and 46% were living with their families.
  • Most commonly, youth did not have access to appropriate housing because of a lack of sufficient income, lack of available affordable housing, lack of available long-term supportive housing, limited availability or a lack of transitional living programs and the youth’s lack of credit.
  • Pregnant and parenting youth under the age of 18 who are not wards of the State of Illinois have the fewest options. 

To view the entire brief click below:

Housing Crisis – preg and parent youth 2004

Illinois YRBS Results 2011 (Excluding Chicago)

Summary:

This survey is by the Child Health Data Lab and consists of findings from high school students from 33 Illinois public schools with the exception of Chicago. Students were asked about various risk-taking behaviors, including sexual health. The survey included multiple charts and graphs. Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results from years  2007 and 2009 are also listed on this survey.

  • “76% of youth surveyed were not physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes per day on seven of the past seven days.”
  • “56% of youth surveyed had have had sexual intercourse.”
  • “92% of youth surveyed Did not eat fruits two or more times per day or vegetables three or more times per day during the past seven days.”

Citation: Child Health Data Lab. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Retrieved from http://www.chdl.org/yrbs.htm

Link to survey.

SIECUS State Profiles: Illinois (2010)

(Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) SIECUS State Profiles represents the most complete portrait ever assembled of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and their intersection with sexuality education programs in the United States. This publication includes individual profiles of every state and the District of Columbia that are intended to serve as a guide and major resource for advocates, policymakers, and other interested parties. This seventh edition includes information from federal Fiscal Year 2010, which began on October 1, 2009 and ended on September 30, 2010.

View Illinois State Profile  [opens new window]

Choose Your State  [opens new window]

Illinois Databook (2007)

The 2007 Illinois Sexually Transmitted Diseases Summary provides statistics and trends of reported sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Illinois for 1998-2007 and consists of five sections: Illinois 2007 epidemiologic summary; Illinois statewide statistics tables; Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis sections that have tables of cases, rates and county demographics statistics.

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

*update? link, improved tags