WASHINGTON, DC, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an attempt to close a loophole in state laws requiring parental notification or consent for minor abortions, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill earlier this week which would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines in order to circumvent parental involvement laws in the minor’s home state.
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would also require that parents be notified any time an abortion is performed on an out-of-state minor, regardless of the parental notification laws in the minor’s home state. Additionally, it guarantees a parent’s right to civil action against violators of the law, unless the pregnancy is the result of an incestuous act on the part of the parent.
Pro-abortion critics have dubbed it the “Arrest Grandma” act, since not even the minor’s family members would be exempt.
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In comments to LifeSiteNews, Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director of the National Right to Life Committee contended that a law conferring parental rights on grandparents “would be extraordinary.”
“Who favors a law that says their mother-in-law can authorize surgical procedures on their minor children without their knowledge or consent?” he asked.
Johnson added that the notification requirement would be dispensed with if the girl claims to be a victim of parental abuse. The abortion doctor, however, would be required to notify authorities of the situation. “If it’s a bona fide case of abuse, obviously the last thing you want to do is just give her the abortion and send her back to the abusive situation,” he said.
According to House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith, the law is designed to protect teens in abusive situations. Smith noted in his opening comments for the hearing that under the status quo, it was possible for “complete strangers” to assist minors in evading parental involvement laws.
“Teenage pregnancies often occur as a result of predatory practices of men who are usually much older than their minor victim. This results in the transportation of victims across state lines by an individual who has a great incentive to avoid criminal liability for this conduct,” he said. “Parental involvement laws ensure that parents have the opportunity to protect their daughters from those who would victimize them further.”
Smith added that parents who were unaware that their daughter had obtained an abortion would be unable to ensure that she had access to appropriate post-abortive care.
“The medical, emotional and psychological consequences of an abortion are dramatic and lasting,” he said.
The legislation has been approved by the House several times in the past but has never made it through the Senate. According to Johnson, the battle in the Senate remains “up hill” this time around.
He noted, however, that the effort to get members of Congress “on the record” about the issue was worthwhile. “We are very serious about seeing it enacted into law eventually,” he said.