Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court playing politics on Christian radio?

Abortion-notification issue returns

September 20, 2006

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter

Robert Thomas, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, called in to a Christian radio program in suburban Chicago last week to tell them he hoped to revive an abortion case the court had stalled action on 11 years earlier.

Late Monday, the court declared it would issue rules about how minor girls could appeal a judge's decision denying them the right to get an abortion without their families being notified. That will clear the way for a law passed by the Legislature in 1995 to take effect, requiring abortion providers to notify an adult relative of a pregnant teen before giving her an abortion.

Republican DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett has been campaigning for lieutenant governor on a platform of reviving the law, and he wrote a letter to the state high court in June asking it to finally write the rules that will let the law take effect.

Thomas, who won his seat on the court with support from anti-abortion groups six years ago, had already asked his clerks to research the issue before Birkett and the anti-abortion groups filed their briefs, said Joe Tybor, court spokesman.

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