Sunday, December 17, 2006

Do your job, Lisa

For those looking for a demonstration of the news media's double-standard on abortion, look no further than Illinois' parental notification law.

Lisa Madigan, the liberal Attorney General of Illinois, is predictably as far left on the issue of abortion as can be. She has the radical pro-choice stance, meaning she opposes all reasonable restrictions such as parental notification and a ban on partial birth abortion, even though most Illinoisans favor those positions.

It doesn't matter what her personal position is, however. As Attorney General, she's supposed to defend the constitutionality of laws passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor presuming they are not on their face, unconstitutional.

Illinois has such a law, parental notification, that awaits the state's chief legal officer to go into federal court and lift a 1995 injunction. The law was was passed decisively in 1995 by pro-life and pro-choice legislators and signed by Jim Edgar, a pro-choice governor. In September, the Illinois Supreme Court paved the way for the injunction to be lifted when it drafted so-called "bypass rules" it had previously balked at writing. The rules set forth the conditions and procedures for a minor child to bypass having to notify their parents of an abortion.

Madigan said in September she is studying the new rules and would make a decision later on how to proceed.

Well, she's done nothing for three months. And, the news media has not asked her why.

If the situation was reversed — a conservative Attorney General was balking at enforcing a law favored by abortion rights advocates — the news media would be hounding the AG. I know that is true because there were a few times that it happened when Jim Ryan was AG and I was working for him.

However, unlike Madigan in this case, Jim Ryan bucked his own constituency and his personal position when he refused to defend the constitutionality of the parental notification law in 1995 because of the Illinois Supreme Court refused to write bypass rules. Pro-life groups were mad. I remember them calling our office. Sometimes doing your job correctly is not popular.

Lisa Madigan needs to do the same. She needs to buck the special interest groups who support her — NARAL, Personal Pac, Planned Parenthood — and get the injunction lifted.

The Tribune, Sun-Times and Daily Herald all support the parental notification law as do a decisive majority of Illinoisans. It just makes sense if a 14-year-old girl wants to have an abortion, her parents ought to know about it. Every state in the Midwest has such a law except Illinois.

It's time for the news media to ask Madigan why she remains motionless on this issue.

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