Moeller, Nowak share views on abortion access, lack of parental notification requirement
The topic of abortion as an exclusively state issue as well as Illinois' current lack of a parental notification law for girls receiving abortions bookended an hourlong discussion between candidates running for the 43rd District state House seat this week.
The Supreme Court's recent overturning of Roe v. Wade was among numerous statewide and local issues addressed by Democratic incumbent Anna Moeller of Elgin and crosstown Republican challenger Angela Hallock Nowak during a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Elgin Area.
Moeller said Illinois already was well-positioned for the impact the Supreme Court's summer ruling had on states' jurisdiction over legal access to abortion services.
"Over the past several years we've passed House Bill 40, which removed the trigger law, which would have made abortion illegal in light of the overturning of Roe," Moeller said. "We passed the Reproductive Health Care Act, which codifies a woman's right to reproductive health care and contraception, and we are in a good position.
But, she added, these existing laws don't mean the Illinois legislature has nothing left to do.
"We need to make sure that we are protecting women who come to our state and doctors who perform reproductive health care in our state," Moeller said. "These rights are under attack by our neighboring states, and currently I'm working through a working group to ensure that we can provide access to reproductive health care to anyone who needs it Illinois."
Nowak said abortion is a particularly sensitive topic that everyone views from the angle of personal beliefs.
"I would like to get to know how my constituents feel on the topic," she said. "With that said, I can tell you that according to a recent poll, about 64% of U.S. voters want abortion providers to be required to notify parents before performing abortions on girls under 18. My opponent sponsored the legislation here in Illinois that ceased parental notification of abortions, and it is obvious here by the numbers that Americans in general don't wish for that."
Nowak added that parents should have the ultimate authority over their children's lives and that she would never legislate them out of that position.
Moeller said she sponsored the bill to which Nowak referred, but added its aim was to protect the most vulnerable. She noted that most pregnant girls -- about 85% -- do go to their parents when they find themselves in that situation.
"But there are 15% who have either been raped, victims of incest, victims of abuse by their parents, who can't go to their parents when they find themselves pregnant," Moeller said. "And while that (parental notification) law was in effect from 2013 until 2021, those young people had to go to court and ask a judge to give them permission to not be pregnant, because they couldn't go to their abusive family for that. And that was retraumatizing a young person at a very vulnerable time in her life."
The 43rd state House District includes portions of Carpentersville, Elgin, Hoffman Estates and Streamwood.
A recording of the full 43rd District candidates forum can be accessed on the website of the League of Women Voters of the Elgin area at lwvelginarea.org.