By Brendan O'Brien
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A parent must be notified 48 hours before a girl under the age of 18 gets an abortion in Illinois, the state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, culminating nearly two decades of legal wrangling over the issue.
A state law passed in 1995 required doctors who performed abortions to notify parents 48 hours before the procedure unless there was a medical emergency.
In 1996, a federal judge stopped enforcement of the law because no rules had been adopted that allowed a girl to seek permission from the courts to undergo an abortion without notifying her parents. It has been the subject of legal sparring ever since.
The earliest the court's ruling can be enforced is 21 days, according to Paul Linton, an attorney representing the Thomas More Society, an anti-abortion organization that has been involved in the case.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois, which opposed the parental notice law, said it was disappointed by the decision. The organization provides health counseling and services including abortion.
"Planned Parenthood of Illinois is committed to doing everything we can to make this new process as easy as possible for teens," the group said.
The law does not require parental consent.
The Illinois court decision is the latest in a series of state measures imposed in recent years restricting the right to abortion approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
(Reporting By Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)