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Aurora urges state to enforce parental notification law
Leaders send message to state -- enforce law
Amy Boerema | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/28/2007 12:52 AM

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Aurora aldermen on Tuesday approved a much-anticipated resolution urging the state to enforce its parental notification law for girls seeking abortions.

The vote was unanimous and warranted a standing ovation from the packed council chambers. Alderman Lynda Elmore was absent.

The reaction was a welcome change for officials, who in recent months have sat through hours of public comment from residents blasting them on their handling of the Planned Parenthood clinic.

The controversial center opened on the city's far east side in October.

Aldermen had remained largely silent during that issue, which never came before the council for a full vote.

Still, they heard -- and continue to hear -- from hundreds of opponents on a regular basis urging them to revoke the building's permits and close the center down.

On Tuesday, more than 80 people had signed up to speak on parental notification, with almost all urging aldermen to support it.

Aldermen heard from about half of them before asking the crowd if they wanted to continue public comment or move ahead with a vote. A few more people spoke, then officials took over.

The city's resolution calls for the state to enforce its parental notice law, which first was approved in 1995 but then blocked by a federal court from taking effect.

The law has since been challenged, and a judge currently is reviewing the case.

But Aurora now is sending state leaders a message that they're expected to govern "with respect for life, with respect for families," said Alderman Chris Beykirch, who along with Aldermen Rick Lawrence and Richard Irvin, created the resolution.

And if the state chooses not to put children's safety first, Lawrence said, the city of Aurora should move forward in creating its own ordinance that protects minors.

"This is one step," he said. "It's an important step."

Lawrence wanted the statement to include notification for all medical procedures -- including prescribing medication -- but the idea didn't pass.

By choosing to single out abortion, he said, the council made it clear its feelings about the way Planned Parenthood came into town. Many residents criticized the clinic for not revealing its true identity until after it was built.

"I'm bitter this matter came before us at all," said Beykirch, who added they wouldn't be dealing with it if not for the clinic.

Aldermen hope other towns pass their own resolutions urging the state to take action and Naperville could be next, Lawrence said.

"It does send a clear message that two major cities think this is important and we need to get it done," he said.