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If you are under 18 and pregnant in Illinois, you have three options:

Continue the pregnancy and become a parent, continue the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption, or terminate the pregnancy by abortion.

In Illinois, no one including the minor's sexual partner, guardian or parents can make that decision for her.

The Parents Matter Coalition disagrees.

Vince Heaton, the group's founder and co-chairman, spoke to an audience of 15 people Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Hall. He told them parents have an "inherent right" to make life-altering decisions when it comes to their minor children.

"They haven't been in the world enough to understand the implications of a decision that they make today," he said of those under 18 years old. "Every decision has a consequence. As parents, we want those decisions to be good and those consequences to be positive. So, that's really what this is about."

The coalition is behind what it calls the Parents Rights Initiative, a 500,000-signature petition drive to place an advisory question on the November general election ballot.

The question states: "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 non-emergency medical procedure, medication, pharmaceutical, or any gender modification procedure, gender identification counseling or gender therapy?"

While the question is non-binding, organizers view the referendum as a means for lawmakers to gauge the public's opinion.

The Rockford visit was the last stop in a four-city tour that included Chicago, Moline and Springfield.

Kristine Stensland of Machesney Park helped organize the Rockford visit and said the coalition is advocating for the safety of minors.

"If your 13 year old gets pregnant, it's usually not the 14 year old that got them pregnant," she said. "It's a 20 year old, and that person should be held accountable for breaking the law," Stensland said.

"But, if the minor has an abortion, the evidence of statutory rape is gone."

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