GOP Again Seeks to Prohibit Interstate Abortions

Monisha Bansal | Staff Writer | Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GOP Again Seeks to Prohibit Interstate Abortions

( - In a last ditch effort before the upcoming congressional recess, Republican members of the House re-introduced a bill Tuesday to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions out of state.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 34 states have either parental consent or notification laws (Utah has both), but there is no national law prohibiting a minor from traveling from one state where a notification or consent law exists to another state where there is no statute in order to get an abortion.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) called the federal status quo "awful."

"Children can't get their ears pierced in this country without parental consent, but they can get an abortion," he said.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who wrote the bill, initially introduced the legislation in February 2005. It was passed by the House, but died in the Senate.

"We as parents have a right to know what is going on in our daughters' lives with regard to a potentially life-threatening medical procedure," Ros-Lehtinen said before reintroducing the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" on Tuesday.

She said the bill "seeks to put an end to the abortion clinics and family planning organizations that exploit young, vulnerable girls by luring them to recklessly disobey state laws."

The bill, she said, "is a vital component towards changing the way abortionists do business and will have significant impact on how abortionists deal with girls seeking an abortion."

"Protecting young girls from a life-threatening procedure is not something to be compromised," Ros-Lehtinen said.

But Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation said the proposed legislation would be "harmful" to teens.

"In most instances, parents know about a teenage daughter's decision to terminate a pregnancy," she said. "However, the government cannot legislate good family communications and parental involvement may not be a realistic option for teens who come from homes that are emotionally or physically abusive, or for those who are victims of rape or incest."

Saporta said that as the bill would require parental notification, "a teen may be compelled to pursue drastic alternatives in order to avoid involving her parents." The teen may also "encounter dangerous delays as she attempts to navigate the legal system and obtain a judicial bypass," instead of seeking out "trusted aunts, sisters, grandmothers, or other friends as a resource," she added..

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