Illinois Abortion Laws

While the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion at the federal level, it was up to the states to regulate the practice. Some states have made it virtually impossible to access abortion services, while others have enacted just a few restrictions and rules. Illinois abortion laws prohibit the abortion of a viable fetus (that which can live outside of the womb), while requiring minors to obtain written consent from an adult family member at least 48 hours prior to the procedure. The adult family member does not have to give their permission for the minor to have the abortion; the only requirement is that the adult family member must be notified.

Below is a summary of Illinois abortion laws. See FindLaw's Abortion section for more general information, including the history of abortion law in the U.S.

Code Section 720 ILCS 510/1, et seq.; 750 ILCS 70/1, et seq.; act barred by permanent injunction by unpublished opinion from Zbaraz v. Ryan, No. 84 CV771 (N.D. Ill. 1996)
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion Use of any instrument, drug, or any other device to terminate pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with an intention other than to increase the probability of live a birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion If fetus nonviable and abortion not necessary to preserve mother's health, M.D. must certify nonviability; if fetus is viable, abortion must be medically necessary to preserve life, health of mother; M.D. must certify this necessity
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Fine to $1,000 and/or imprisonment 3 to 7 years for M.D. (Class 2 felony); if fetus could have survived with or without support and M.D. does not use method to keep it alive: Class 3 felony
Consent Requirements 48 hours prior to abortion procedure on an unmarried woman less than 18, written informed consent by minor and actual or constructive notice must be given to an adult family member; exceptions for medical emergency or judicial notice
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements Licensed M.D.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Illinois Abortion Laws: Related Resources

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Abortion laws in Illinois can be complex. Since providers have to comply with numerous licensing requirements and regulations, it is confusing to know what laws apply. If you need additional information regarding rights and obligations, then you should contact an experienced Illinois attorney.

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