WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 ( – The nation’s top abortion lobby has attacked a federal bill that would ban secret abortions on minors whisked across state lines to avoid parental consent or notification laws, nicknaming it the “arrest grandma” act.


The abortion group slammed the measure for preventing “loving” relatives other than a girl’s parents, or a “member of the clergy,” from helping girls get interstate abortions.

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), H.R. 2299, would make it illegal to transport a minor across a state line in circumvention of a state law requiring parental involvement. It mandates that abortionists comply with parental consent laws in the minor’s home state, by giving notice or obtaining consent for the abortion from the minor’s parents.

CIANA passed the House Judiciary Committee last month. 

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In an email Tuesday, NARAL leader Nancy Keenan urged supporters to urge House leaders to vote against the “arrest grandma” act, and questioned, “Shouldn’t a teen in this situation get all the family and community support that she needs – especially if she chooses abortion?”

“Isn’t this what ‘family values’ is all about?” she asked.

Parental notification laws for minors obtaining abortions are among the most popular pro-life laws in America, with national opinion polls finding 70% in favor. Over 30 U.S. states have enacted such laws. By way of comparison, in states where minors can obtain an abortion without parental consent, almost all require the consent of a parent or legal guardian for the same minor to receive a tattoo.

Parental consent laws are typically billed as a way to protect underage girls from being taken advantage of by sexual predators, who otherwise would be able to bring their underage victim in for a secret abortion to hide their crime in the case of pregnancy.

In opening remarks at CIANA’s markup last month, Rep. Trent Franks (R-TX) said the widespread enactment of such laws has “made it clear through legislation that parents have a right to know whether their daughters are trying to undergo abortions.”

“Parents play a critical role in the well being of their daughter, particularly in the abortion context,” he said.

Teresa Collett, a Professor of Law at University of St. Thomas School of Law, recently observed, “There is no other elective surgery that minors can obtain while keeping their parents in the dark, and the controversy surrounding this Act shows just how severely the judicial creation of abortion rights has distorted American law.”


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