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Former lawmaker seeking parental rights question for Illinois’ November ballot

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(The Center Square) – A former state legislator has formed a group that is launching a statewide effort to put parents’ rights on Illinois’ November 2024 ballot.

The Parents Matter Coalition has said that minor children in Illinois should require the guidance of their parents when faced with life-altering medical decisions like abortions or gender identity procedures. The group, in response, has launched a petition seeking to ask voters if parents should have more control over such decisions.

“Shall the written consent from a minor’s parent or guardian be required before any entity, person, clinic or school can provide a minor (under the age of 18 years) any nonemergency medical procedure, medication, pharmaceutical, or any gender modification procedure, gender identification counseling or gender therapy?” the question asks.

Jeanne Ives, a former state representative, said Thursday petitioners hope to get the advisory question on the November ballot.

“We want it on the 2024 ballot, that means we need petition signatures,” Ives told The Center Square. “Our goal is 500,000 signatures. We need less than that, but we are aiming for 500,000, and we would like to collect those by the end of March.”

Mary Kate Zander, who is with the Illinois Right to Life Organization and the Parents Matter Coalition, said supporting this measure should be an easy decision for parents to make.

“Minors often need parent permission to get their ears pierced, to go on field trips, and to purchase medication, for example. It is common sense that they should also require parental consent when making major medical decisions like the decision to take hormone blockers or to obtain an abortion,” said Zander. “For the vast majority of parents, this is a no-brainer. That’s why we believe this initiative will receive widespread support.”

The initiative is just a ballot question and will not change state law regardless of the final vote outcome. However, Ives said this can put pressure on those making the laws.

“The only thing we can do is threaten them [state legislature] with a polling question, and oh my goodness, they will feel threatened if we get all these signatures,” Ives said. “In the process of doing this, we have already raised so much awareness about how parent rights have been eroded by the state legislature.”

Should the effort receive the required number of signatures, the question could appear on the Nov. 5, 2024, ballot, pending any possible objections.

Greg Bishop contributed to this report.

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