The Child Custody Protection Act would make it a crime to avoid a state's parental-notification law by taking a minor to another state to obtain an abortion. Violators would face fines and up to one year in prison. The only exception would be if the abortion were required to save the teen’s life. According to the National Right to Life Committee, 26 states would be covered by the bill.
The House passed a similar measure last year, so the legislation now goes to final House-Senate negotiations, reported the Washington Times.
"This bill goes a long way in strengthening the effectiveness of state laws designed to protect parents and their young daughters from the health and safety risks associated with secret abortions," said Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican and bill sponsor.
President George W. Bush strongly supports the measure. He has said transporting minors to other states to avoid parental-involvement laws "undermines state law and jeopardizes the lives of young women," reported the Post.
"I appreciate the Senate's efforts to preserve the integrity of state law and protect our nation's families," he reportedly said after the bill was passed.
Polls show that a majority of Americans support parental-notification laws. A Gallup poll, issued Thursday, indicates that more than two-thirds of Americans support legislation preserving parents’ rights, reported LifeNews. Only 28 percent are opposed.
A pro-life spokesperson with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pointed to a 2005 survey, conducted by WomanTrend, which indicated that 82 percent believe no one should be able to take a minor girl across state lines for an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.
“This act will keep teens from being pressured into abortions by those who have little or no investment in their health or long-term welfare,” said USCCB pro-life spokesperson Deirdre McQuade.
She commended the Senate for approving the bill and urged legislators to expedite its passage into law.
“Secret abortions undermine parents’ ability to care for their children in crisis, and put young girls at particular risk both physically and emotionally,” said McQuade. “Abortion does not solve an adolescent’s problems, but instead often compounds her fears, anxiety, and sense of isolation.”
Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore made a similar comment in a statement last week. “Parents should not be kept in the dark when the welfare of their children and their unborn grandchildren is at stake,” he said. “Many states have wisely chosen to protect parents’ rights in this area, and the intent of their protective laws should not be thwarted.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, national president of Priests for Life, also commended the Senate and urged states that do not have parental involvement laws to legislate them.
.- The spokesperson for pro-life activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement commending the United States Senate for their vote approving a parental notification act Tuesday, which protects parents' right to be involved in their pregnant teenage daughter’s abortion decision.