Senate Passes Interstate Abortion Bill

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

July 26, 2006

It seems that in the ongoing abortion battle, pro-life advocates made some headway on Capital Hill. Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would make it a crime to transport minors across state lines to receive abortions.

This bill would make it a federal crime for anyone, other than parents, to take a minor across state lines for an abortion. While pro-life advocates are saying it's about time, those opposing the bill say this will do nothing to help prevent unwanted pregnancies or abortions.

"Just to give an Aspirin or Neosporin in the schools one has to have parental consent, if one goes on a field trip with their school they have to have parental consent," explained Father Gregory of The Church of Incarnation.

Now Congress is working to make sure that abortions receive the same parental consent in states that require it. In the bill passed Tuesday, the Senate approved the Child Protection & Safety Bill that would allow the prosecution of anyone, other than parents, to take a minor across state lines for an abortion.

Now pro-choice activists are opposing what they call a teen endangerment act.

"They're putting teens that are in abusive or otherwise unhealthy family situations at risk and again if our legislators really wanted to stop abortion and keep teens healthy and safe they'd fund comprehensive medically accurate sexuality education and also family planning programs," Becky Reid from Planned Parenthood said.

Pro-life advocates and religious groups believe it's about time, and while this wouldn't end abortion, only make receiving one harder, they feel it's a step in the right direction

"This is certainly a baby step, but it's certainly safeguarding the family and the rights of parents to know what health issues their teenagers are undergoing," Father Gregory said.

Democrats tried to get special exceptions be made to guardians or confidantes for girls in abusive families, but were denied, yet another defeat in the eyes of pro-choice supporters.

"In these difficult situations, families need support--not laws that would criminalize a grandmother or an aunt for helping a teen access medical care," Reid said.

This bill differs from the one passed by the house in that it does not require a national parental notification law where a physician who knowingly performs an abortion on a minor from another state would have to notify the parent within 24 hours of the procedure. It is differences like these that have kept President Bush from signing them into law.

Parents would be excluded from the prosecution if the pregnancy resulted from incestuous relations. The father would not be allowed to take the teen across state lines.

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