.- Cardinal William Keeler, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Pro-Life Activities, released a statement this week, urging the Senate to pass an act that would affirm parents’ right to protect their minor daughters from those who would facilitate abortions for them.
Keeler, who is also Archbishop of Baltimore, said that the act protects the rights of parents as well as those of minors in a traumatic experience. “Abortion can involve life-long emotional and physical trauma, particularly for young girls,” the Cardinal said. “In such situations, the love and support of families is critical and needs to be encouraged.”
The U.S. Bishops and supporting lawmakers say the necessity for the legislation has arisen recently after several individual states have passed parental consent laws. The new state legislation creates a situation in which a child still under the custody of her parents could be taken to another state to procure an abortion without her parents' knowledge.
Cardinal Keeler said that the proposed legislation, “will help protect parental autonomy in states with parental notification or consent laws on abortion,” “It will allow parents to file suit in cases where their fundamental rights and responsibilities regarding the care of their children have been usurped by others. No one else-boyfriends, in-laws, counselors, friends-can substitute for the fundamental role of parents.”
“The need to protect minors in these situations is compelling,” Cardinal Keeler said. “Parents should not be kept in the dark when the welfare of their children and their unborn grandchildren is at stake. Many states have wisely chosen to protect parents’ rights in this area, and the intent of their protective laws should not be thwarted.”
The Washington Times reports that lawmakers will likely start debating the bill today. Similar bills, which have already been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, have failed to gain the support of Senate Democrats.
The last bill to come before the Senate received the majority’s support, 54-45, but it was not enough to overcome a Democrat filibuster.