WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers praised the reintroduction of a bill requiring parental notification to transport minors across state borders for an abortion.
“Congress must take action to prevent underage abortions by giving states the federal backing necessary to enforce their parental-involvement laws,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sponsor of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.
“These laws allow teenagers to receive the advice and guidance of a loved one before undergoing a procedure for which they may not be medically or emotionally prepared.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who is sponsoring the corresponding bill in the House of Representatives, said she is pleased by the support that the bill has gained and added that the legislation is part of “our duty to protect minors from exploitation from the abortion industry.”
“This bill is the right step in protecting parental rights and ensuring that young girls have a safer, healthier and brighter future,” she said.
“As parents, we are responsible for our children,” added Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Noting that “parental involvement is almost always required before a child can receive medical treatment,” he explained in a statement that “it should also be required when their minor daughter is taken across state lines for an abortion.”
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would prohibit the transportation of minors across state lines in order to circumvent parental-involvement abortion laws in the child’s home state.
Over 35 states currently have laws requiring parental notification for minors obtaining abortions.
However, according to a press release by Rubio’s office, there is “no federal framework in place to prevent a minor from traveling across state lines” to undergo an abortion in a state that does not have these parental-notification requirements.
Abortion Providers Targeted
The proposed legislation would require abortion providers to notify parents of out-of-state minors receiving an abortion, even if the state they are located in does not have a parental-notification statute itself.
The Senate version of the bill currently has 22 co-sponsors, while the House version has 68 co-sponsors. Both bills were introduced on Feb. 14.
Earlier versions of the legislation passed the House of Representatives in previous years but failed in the Senate due to filibuster efforts opposing it.
Several of the senators supporting the bill commented on the need for parental involvement in the health-care decisions of minor children.
“When schools can’t even give a student an aspirin without a parent’s permission,” said Sen. Jim Risch, R- Idaho, “a doctor should never be allowed to perform an abortion on a minor child without at least notifying the parents.”
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., added that parental involvement is key because abortion “can have long-term physical and psychological repercussions.”
“Parents need to be prepared to help their children,” Johanns explained, “instead of being kept in the dark until it is too late.”