In a blow to the young women’s reproductive rights, the House passed a bill yesterday that makes it illegal to transport a minor across state lines to attain an abortion procedure. The bill, which passed by a vote of 276 to 150, failed to gain the two-thirds majority mandated to override a presidential veto. A vote on the bill is scheduled to reach the Senate before Congress adjourns for the year.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lleana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), would make it a federal misdemeanor to help any woman under 18 evade state parental consent laws by transporting her over state lines for the purposes of attaining an abortion. Exceptions to the proposed law would be made in cases where the woman’s life is in danger. One of the key supporters of the bill, Representative Tom Coburn, sees the move as a significant GOP issue for the fall and recently sponsored a bill that would ban complete FDA funding and research for mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486). Coburn commented in a interview that advocates for abortion rights, “better be prepared to defend themselves, because we’re going to have the grass roots out there talking about it.”