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House Once Again Passes Legislation Endangering the Health of Teens

Only weeks before the midterm election, the US House of Representatives passed the controversial Teen Endangerment Act yesterday in a 264 to 153 vote. The act, officially called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, criminalizes the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion by anyone other than the parent or legal guardian. If a pregnant teen has another trusted adult, such as a grandparent or a sister, take her across state lines to have an abortion, the adult would be subject to fines of $100,000, a year in prison, or both. The act would also require doctors to contact the parents of out-of-state patients 24 hours before performing an abortion, even if the abortion provider’s state does not have parental notification or consent laws.

The House previously passed very similar legislation in April of 2005, which was prevented from becoming law when the significantly different Senate version of the legislation was blocked from reaching a Congressional conference committee by Senate Democratic leadership. Because it did not accept the Senate version of the legislation, the House needed to pass new legislation for the bill to be re-considered. Instead of passing a bill identical to the Senate’s version, the House passed essentially the same bill it passed in April. It is unlikely that the House and Senate will reach a compromise on the legislation before Congress leave for the November elections, according to Associated Press.

Studies have shown that 61 percent of parents are aware of their daughter’s pregnancy, according to the American Association of University Women. Of those young women who do not inform their parents of their decision to have an abortion, 93 percent had a trusted adult or friend accompany them to the clinic.

Sources:

National Abortion Federation 9/26/06; Planned Parenthood press release 9/26/06; NARAL Pro-Choice America press release 9/26/06; Associated Press 9/27/06; Reuters 9/26/06; Los Angeles Times 9/27/06; American Association of University Women 1/04