On February 14, in both the House and the Senate, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act was reintroduced. Both versions of the bill would require abortionists to inform parents whose daughter has traveled across state lines to get an abortion. The Senate bill from the 112th Congress (2011-2012), introduced by pro-lifer Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, is available online. Senator Rubio reintroduced the bill this year as well. In the House, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also a Republican from Florida, reintroduced the bill.
While over 35 states have parental notification or consent laws when their underage daughters are seeking an abortion, it is still possible for these girls to go across state lines to obtain an abortion. Live Action’s Mona Lisa investigative projects, in fact, showed a Planned Parenthood clinic worker coaching Lila Rose posing as a pregnant teenager to go to another state for her abortion. It happened also at this clinic.
In writing for Watchdog Wire, Dr. Richard Swier says this:
These laws, however, are easily and often circumvented due to differing abortion laws in neighboring states. There is currently no federal framework in place to prevent a minor from traveling across state lines to undergo an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. CIANA would prohibit the act of transporting a minor to obtaining an abortion if this action evades the parental involvement law in her home state. In addition, it would require abortion providers to notify a parent of an out-of-state minor before performing an abortion.
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) has had an interesting history. The bill has passed before in both the House and the Senate. It passed the House in 1998, 1999, and 2002. In 2005 and 2006, the bill was passed by the House and the Senate, respectively. Although the bill passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote, Harry Reid prevented a conference from taking place to discuss differences between the House and Senate bills. The most recent bill, before it was just recently reintroduced, had died.
Much has been written about the 112th Congress’s version of the bill. Pro-life author and professor Michael J. New, Ph.D. testified on behalf of CIANA. His testimony is available online thanks to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, where Dr. New is an adjunct scholar.
It’s not just Dr. New who thinks that CIANA is a good idea. Public opinion polls also show that many support this commonsense bill, which, if it becomes law, will protect vulnerable minors seeking an abortion, not to mention protect the rights of parents. A Gallup poll from July 2011 showed that 71% are in support of parental consent laws. Any representatives or senators to vote against this bill would then have to explain to parents that they voted against protecting underage girls and parental rights.
In the Watchdog Wire article, Dr. Richard Swier also includes from statements from Senator Marco Rubio as well as from senators co-sponsoring the bill and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. A common theme from such statements is the need to protect underage girls, and the good that parents can do. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Jim Risch point out how parents already need to be consulted when a child is given medicine at school, or for any other medical procedure.
In a recent Live Action News article, Rachael Denhollander mentions how Brian Claypool, a civil rights litigator, was interviewed about a teen suing her parents in Texas to be allowed to go through with her pregnancy. Claypool said that “parents know best.” Rachel makes a good point about the irony of such a statement:
“Parents know best” is a strange mantra to employ, to be sure, when used by the same groups also fighting for unfettered access to birth control, abortifacients, and abortion for preteen girls, all without parental consent. Apparently the only parents who might “know best” are the ones who aren’t pro-life.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood opposes parental consent laws. There are statements on their website from Planned Parenthood locations and supporters speaking out against such laws. It seems unlikely they’ll support a federal law, then, such as CIANA. NARAL also spoke out against CIANA, dubbing the bill the “Arrest Grandma Act.”
It may seem a little pessimistic to depend on abortionists to report to parents, especially when abortion advocate groups, which they may even work for, vehemently oppose and speak out against such commonsense laws. At the same time, though, CIANA is a noble effort. And even more noteworthy is that should there be proof that abortionists fail to report, there is thus one more form of evidence against abortionists to show the country how this is not the most exemplary group of people.
It is up to our elected public officials in Congress, then, to protect underage girls and the rights of parents. Let us hope that as they go to debate and vote, they will make the right decision.