It Should be Illegal for Minors to Cross State Lines for an Abortion Without the Parents' Consent
It Should be Illegal for Minors to Cross State Lines for an Abortion Without the Parents' Consent
The "Child Custody Protection Act," later known as the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," criminalizes the act of transporting a minor across a state line with the intent that she obtain an abortion and in order to avoid the parental notification law of her home state. Also, in regard to states that do not have a parental notification requirement, the bill mandates that a physician performing an abortion must provide twenty-four-hour notice to a parent of a minor before the abortion is performed. This bill passed the House in June 1999, but the Senate did not act on the bill. It then was reintroduced in the House as H.R. 476 on September 6, 2001, but the Senate still did not act on it. The bill was reintroduced in the Senate (S. 851) and the House (H.R. 1755) in 2003. Again, the bill was passed in the House, but no action was taken in the Senate. In 2005 the bill was introduced in the House as the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" H.R. 748, and on April 27, 2005, it passed. On July 11, 2005, it was placed on the calendar of the Senate as S. 403, but no action had been taken as of mid-September, 2005.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN PATRICK MCHENRY (R), 10TH DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA, INTRODUCING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
Madam Speaker, America as a Nation must defend life from the moment of conception to natural death. Later today, the House will take up, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, introduced by my good friend, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen). This bill will protect minors and their parents from inconsistent State abortion laws.
Currently, 23 States require a parent to be involved in a child's abortion decision, while 27 do not. This bill would prosecute anyone who transports a minor to a State without parental consent laws with the purpose of undermining parental rights. It requires that any time a minor goes for an abortion, the physician must at least try to notify the parents.
Madam Speaker, we need to make sure that we have serious parental involvement in these difficult and potentially dangerous decisions. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this reasonable measure and vote "yes" on H.R. 748 later today.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN PHIL GINGREY, M.D. (R), 11TH DISTRICT OF GEORGIA, SUPPORTING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
… Mr. Speaker, I fear that the opponents of this bill will demagogue it as an assault on a woman's right to choose, but this bill has absolutely nothing, let me repeat, nothing to do with a woman's right to choose. Rather, this bill ensures that no minor is deprived of any protection according to not only her but also her parents under the laws of her State….
Having practiced as an OB-GYN for nearly 30 years, I am uniquely qualified to discuss the medical and legal obligations of a physician to his or her patient. And this law not only ensures the protection of minors but it also clarifies the responsibility of the physician to make sure that he or she is not inappropriately performing an abortion on a minor without the legally mandated consent of her parents.
This bill also affirms the principles of federalism and it prevents the circumvention and violation of laws passed by State legislatures. Over 30 States have passed parental notification laws, Mr. Speaker. In fact, in my home State of Georgia, the legislature just recently passed a new abortion notification law in an overwhelming and bipartisan fashion, and this Congress has the responsibility to defend that federalism and the integrity of State laws in interstate matters….
Mr. Speaker, this legislation recognizes this fundamental bond between parents and child and it recognizes the obligation of a parent to be involved and to assist in making important decisions affecting both the life and the health of a minor. Children cannot even be given aspirin at school without their parents' permission, so I cannot comprehend how anyone could possibly justify that administering an abortion is less traumatic or potentially dangerous than taking an aspirin. Yet, Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what the opponents of this bill are saying through their opposition to H.R. 748.
During this debate, I encourage my colleagues to remain focused on the matter at hand and remember that this legislation seeks to uphold the legislatively guaranteed rights of parents and their minor children. Let us not allow this debate to be bogged down with the same tired rhetoric about a woman's right to choose.
I ask my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying bill for final passage.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSWOMAN ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), 18TH DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, SUPPORTING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
… I am so proud to stand here in favor of House Resolution 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. This bill will incorporate all of the provisions previously contained in the previous legislation that we had filed, the Child Custody Protection Act, making it a Federal offense to transport a minor across State lines to circumvent that State's abortion parental notification laws.
In addition, this year's bill will require that in a State without a parental notification requirement, abortion providers are required to notify a parent. It will protect minors from exploitation from the abortion industry, it will promote strong family ties, and it will help foster respect for State laws. Similar but not identical legislation has had the support of the overwhelming majority of the Members of Congress who have voted in favor of it, not only in 1998 and in 1999, but also in 2002.
I am extremely hopeful that this commonsense pro-family legislation will pass both the House, the Senate, and will be signed into law by our President….
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN J. GRESHAM BARRETT (R), 3RD DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, SUPPORTING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 748 and the rule that we have in front of us this afternoon. I commend the sponsor of the legislation, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), for introducing this legislation, legislation of which I am a proud cosponsor.
Mr. Speaker, I find it unacceptable that under the current law any person in this country can take a pregnant minor to another State for the purpose of having an abortion without parents' knowledge and/or consent….
When it comes to such a serious medical procedure being performed on a minor, we cannot leave that notification up to a scared child. Every parent or legal guardian has a right to know, and this legislation ensures that right. I urge my colleagues to support the rule on H.R. 748 which ensures that right.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSWOMAN MELISSA HART (R), 4TH DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA, SUPPORTING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
… I am just shocked at some of the debate I hear on the other side of the aisle opposing this legislation. The whole point here is to support the family. The whole point here is to prevent the person who may even be a sexual predator or the person who is exploiting this minor from transporting this child across a State line to obtain an abortion and basically get rid of his problem.
It is outrageous that we would not support this legislation. A minor needs parental consent to engage in sports in school, to get a tattoo or a body piercing; yet we are allowing people to take a child across State lines for an abortion.
Mr. Speaker, it is important that we pass this bill. It is important to preserve families….
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING (R), 5TH DISTRICT OF IOWA, SUPPORTING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the rule and the underlying bill, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act [CIANA].
Mr. Speaker, eight in 10 Americans favor parental notification laws, and 44 States have recognized the important role of parents in a minor child's decision to have an abortion by enacting a parental involvement statute. Even so, many of these laws are being circumvented by people who simply transport girls across State lines to States without parental notification laws for the purpose of getting an abortion.
All too often these other adults are grown men who sexually preyed upon the young girls, and they used the abortions to cover up their crimes. CIANA returns parental rights to parents.
Despite the strong deference it gives to abortion rights, even the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that parents' rights to control the care of their children is among the most fundamental of all liberty interests. The Supreme Court has consistently recognized that parents have a legal right to be involved in their minor daughter's decision to seek medical care, including abortion.
The court has consistently affirmed a State's right to restrict the circumstances under which a minor may obtain an abortion in ways that adult women seeking abortion are not restricted. The Supreme Court has also observed that "the medical, emotion, and psychological consequences of an abortion are serious and can be lasting," and that "it seems unlikely that a minor will obtain adequate counsel and support from an attending physician at an abortion clinic where abortions for pregnant minors frequently take place."
The Supreme Court has also stated that "minors often lack the experience, perspective, and judgment to recognize and avoid choices that could be detrimental to them."
No one has the child's best interest at heart more than her parents. Minors have to have parental permission to be given an aspirin by the school nurse. Twenty-six States have laws requiring parental consent before minors can get body piercings or tattoos, and in fact some States prohibit tattooing of minor children even with parental consent. Parents must be able to play a role.
The public, State statutes, and Supreme Court precedent all support parental involvement in a minor's life decision. Please support the rule and the underlying bill.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN RANDY NEUGEBAUER (R), 19TH DISTRICT OF TEXAS, SUPPORTING THE 2005 VERSION OF THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (H.R. 748), APRIL 27, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act of 2005, and the rule. I want to thank the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) for leading the charge on this important piece of legislation.
Let us talk about what this piece of legislation does. It does three things: one, it upholds the democratic process that has taken place in 44 States; it respects the rights of parents to be involved in the medical decisions for their children; and, most importantly, it protects the health of young daughters.
When someone takes their child to get their teeth cleaned, if they are underage today, they have to have a parent's permission. We should have parents involved in this very important decision in a young woman's life and protect them from those who do not have their best interests at heart.
I encourage the Members of this body to do the right thing today. Let us protect these young women and make sure that this important decision is with a parent's involvement and not with someone who does not have their best interests.
TESTIMONY OF TERESA STANTON COLLETT, PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS SCHOOL OF LAW, MINNEAPOLIS, HEARING ON THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, MARCH 3, 2005
… I am honored to have been invited to testify on H.R. 748, the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" (the "Act"). My testimony represents my professional knowledge and opinion as a law professor who writes on the topic of family law, and specifically on the topic of parental involvement laws. It also represents my experience in assisting legislators across the country in evaluating parental involvement laws during the legislative process and defending parental involvement laws in the courts. I have served as a member of the Texas Supreme Court Subadvisory Committee charged with proposing court rules implementing the judicial bypass of parental notification in that state. I testified before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in 1998, 2001, and 2004 in support of "the Child Custody Protection Act" which is the predecessor to H.R. 748….
It is my opinion that the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act will significantly advance the state's interest in promoting the health and safety of young girls experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, as well as the interests of parents seeking to provide support and guidance to their minor daughters during this difficult time. In the cases where the pregnancy results from unlawful conduct by adult men, the Act will provide greater assurances that unlawful acts will come to the attention of law enforcement officials so that the perpetrators can be prosecuted.
… The United States Supreme Court has described parents' right to control the care of their children as "perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court." In addressing the right of parents to direct the medical care of their children, the Court has stated: Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children.
Our cases have consistently followed that course; our constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is "the mere creature of the State" and, on the contrary, asserted that parents generally "have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare [their children] for additional obligations." Surely, this includes a "high duty" to recognize symptoms of illness and to seek and follow medical advice. The law's concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life's difficult decisions. It is this need to insure the availability of parental guidance and support that underlies the laws requiring a parent is notified or gives consent prior to the performance of an abortion on his or her minor daughter. The national consensus in favor of this position is illustrated by the fact that there are parental involvement laws on the books in forty-four of the fifty states. Only six states in the nation have not attempted to legislatively insure some level of parental involvement in a minor's decision to obtain an abortion. Of the forty-four states that have enacted laws, ten statutes have been determined to have state or federal constitutional infirmities. Therefore the laws of thirty-four states are in effect today. Ten of these remaining states have laws that empower abortion providers to decide whether to involve parents or allow notice to or consent from people other than parents or legal guardians. These laws are substantially ineffectual in assuring parental involvement in a minor's decision to obtain an abortion. However, parents in the remaining twenty-four states are effectively guaranteed the right to parental notification or consent in most cases….
There is widespread agreement that as a general rule, parents should be involved in their minor daughter's decision to terminate an unplanned pregnancy. This agreement even extends to young people, ages 18 to 24. To my knowledge, no organizations or individuals, whether abortion rights activists or pro-life advocates, dispute this point. On an issue as contentious and divisive as abortion, it is both remarkable and instructive that there is such firm and long-standing support for laws requiring parental involvement….
In addition to improving the medical care received by young girls dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, parental notification will provide increased protection against sexual exploitation of minors by adult men….
In those few cases where it is not in the girl's best interest to disclose her pregnancy to her parents, state laws generally provide the pregnant minor the option of seeking a court determination that either involvement of the girl's parent is not in her best interest, or that she is sufficiently mature to make decisions regarding the continuation of her pregnancy. This is a requirement for parental consent laws under existing United States Supreme Court cases, and courts have been quick to overturn laws omitting adequate bypass….
The Child Interstate Parental Notification Act has the unique virtue of building upon two of the few points of agreement in the national debate over abortion: the desirability of parental involvement in a minor's decisions about an unplanned pregnancy, and the need to protect the physical health and safety of the pregnant girl. I urge members of this committee to vote for its passage.