The Senate is set to reconsider today the Teen Endangerment Act, originally introduced as the Child Custody Protection Act, a bill that would make it a federal crime for any person other than a parent or legal guardian to accompany a minor across state lines to have an abortion. The Teen Endangerment Act has been introduced every year since 1998 in the House of Representatives, but never in the Senate. The act would make it illegal for anyone, including a grandparent, aunt, or other trusted adult, to transport a pregnant teen out of a state to avoid the home state’s parental involvement law. The House of Representatives has already passed a similar version of the bill.
Reproductive rights organizations oppose the legislation because of the additional pressure it places on young women. Many young women do no have the option of telling with their parents because they have violent or dysfunctional parental relationships. To deny young women in these situations who are pregnant the support of other trusted adults, like grandparents or adult mentors, “places an undue burden on young women’s access to abortions” and “endangers the health of young women,” says the Center for Reproductive Rights.
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.