Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would criminalize the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without parental involvement. The so-called Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would require doctors to contact the parents of out-of-state patients 24 hours before performing an abortion. The Senate is expected to consider its version, known as the Child Custody Protection Act, this summer. This is the third time the House has passed such legislation, but the Senate has never considered the measure before. However, the policy is on the Republicans’ top 10 list of priorities this year, the Associated Press reports. President Bush issued a statement yesterday urging the Senate to pass the bill.
Reproductive rights groups are calling the bill the “Teen Endangerment Act” because it “fails to protect those teenagers dealing with precarious family situations—like alcoholic or abusive parents—by forcing them to rely on those parents or to go to any lengths, including dangerous ones, to avoid doing so,” said Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Situations in which young women who had obtained a judicial bypass in their home state would be exempt, but there is no provision for girls who are not residents of parental-notification states to obtain such a bypass, reports The Christian Science Monitor.
If it becomes federal law, transporting a teenage girl out of a state with parental-notification laws in order to obtain an abortion would become a federal offense with possible consequences of up to a $100,000 fine and a year in jail, according to the New York Times.