WASHINGTON, April 28, 2005 ( – The US House of Representatives passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) Wednesday, which bans the transportation of a minor girl across state borders in order to avoid parental notification laws for abortion in the girl’s home state.

Bill H.R. 748, sponsored by Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, passed by a bipartisan margin of 270-157. “This legislation will close a loophole that allows adults not only to help minors break state laws by obtaining an abortion without parental consent, but also contributes to ending the life of an innocent child,” she said, according to a New York Times report.

The Senate counterpart – parental notification bill S. 8/S. 403 – sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nv.), has 38 sponsors – 37 of them Republicans. “This bill has been listed among the ‘top ten’ priorities by the Senate Republican leadership, but the Senate Democratic Leadership has erected procedural obstacles that have prevented its early consideration,” said National Right to Life Committee Legislative Director Douglas Johnson in a release. “It is outrageous that the Senate Democratic caucus has thrown up procedural obstacles to block parental notification legislation, despite numerous polls showing 75 percent or more of the public supports requiring parental notification.”

Johnson pointed to a national poll of 1,000 adults conducted April 21-24 by The Polling Company, Inc., released Wednesday, where respondents were asked, “Do you agree or disagree that a person should be able to take a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge?” to which 82% disagreed, while only 15% agreed.

Congress committee members heard the tragic testimony of Marcia Carroll, whose pregnant 14-year-old daughter was transported across Pennsylvania state lines by her boyfriend’s abusive relatives to abort her baby in February 2005, despite her decision to keep her baby. Pennsylvania’s parental consent law was not sufficient to protect this young girl from being subjected to an abortion in New Jersey, a state that does not require parental consent.

“How heart-rending for a young woman to be statutorily raped but doubly tragic for other adults to form a conspiracy network to evade state laws intended to protect her,” said Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America’s senior policy director in a release. “Imagine the horror of being whisked away from those who could rescue you, and then dumped back on your parent’s doorstep after the deadly deed is done and expected to keep it all a secret to shield the abusers.”

In addition, the CIANA requires any abortionist to notify a parent before performing an abortion on a minor who is a resident of another state, unless the minor has already received authorization from a court in her home state, or unless the abortionist is already required to provide such parental notification by a current law in the state in which he practices. If the minor asserts that she is the victim of abuse, the abortionist would notify the appropriate state child abuse agency instead of a parent. Failure to notify the parents or proper authorities is subject to a potential $100,000 fine.

The House rejected amendments to exempt certain classes of non-parents, including members of the clergy and grandparents, from the scope of the bill.

See New York Times coverage.


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