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House Committee Passes Bill Threatening Young Women’s Abortion Rights

By a 19-6 vote, the US House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would make it a crime for anyone except a parent to assist a minor in crossing state lines to obtain an abortion if the minor’s home state employs a parental notification law. The full House is expected to vote on the so-called Child Custody Protection Act after its recess. Opponents of the bill, however, note that it may pose an undue burden on a young woman seeking an abortion. Another cause for concern, according to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, is the bill’s “unprecedented violation of the principles of federalism.” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) also addressed this issue. “The question is whether the people of one state should be able to set the policy for people of other states,” said Nadler. “The federal government should not enable one state to hold another state’s citizens hostage.”

The House Judiciary Committee also voted to kill several amendments to the bill offered by pro-choice Democrats. One amendment would have exempted minors pregnant by a parent, guardian, or any household or family member from abiding by the bill’s requirements. This amendment, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), was rejected 16-12. Another amendment, introduced by Jerry Nadler, that would have allowed grandparents or adult siblings who carried minors across state lines to be exempted, was also rejected by a 16-11 vote.

Sources:

Reuters Health, 3/21/02; Center for Reproductive Law and Policy Press Release, 3/20/02

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