by Steven Ertelt
July 25, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When the Senate takes up a measure on parental notification today, it will also debate and vote on two pro-abortion amendments that pro-life groups strongly oppose. They say the amendments severely weaken the bill and will loosen the protects for girls and parental rights the legislation is meant to uphold.
Today, the Senate will consider the Child Custody Protection Act, a measure that would help uphold state parental notification and consent laws that allow parents to help their teenage daughters avoid abortions.
The bill makes it a crime for anyone other than a teenage girl’s parents to take her out of state for an abortion. Boyfriends, their parents or abortion facility staff have made it a practice of taking teens to other states for secret abortions.
But two California Democrats, pro-abortion Sens. Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer will float two amendments.
Feinstein’s would allow grandparents or a member of the clergy to transport girls out of state for an abortion.
But Lanier Swann, Concerned Women for America told LifeNews.com in a statement that "while many clergy are trustworthy, well-intentioned individuals, the term ‘clergy’ is far too broad and provides a loophole for anyone willing to spend the five minutes required by some sects to be ordained."
"So potentially, a boyfriend or perpetrator could become a clergyman in order to avoid prosecution under the CCPA’s guidelines," Swann said.
Serrin Foster, the president of Feminists for Life of America, which opposes the amendments and supports the bill, agreed.
“It is all too common for sex predators to seek vulnerable young girls — and when a pregnancy results, abortion has been used to cover up their crime," she said. Without the input of a custodial adult, teens risk their health. Will a sex predator ensure she takes her antibiotic as directed after surgery?"
Foster points to the abortion death of Michigan teenager Tamia Russell in 2004.
A fifteen year-old African-American girl, Russell died as a result of an abortion performed in the sixth month of her pregnancy.
The sister of Russell’s 24 year-old boyfriend drove her to obtain the abortion, for which her boyfriend paid. Russell’s mother was not informed before the procedure, and misinformation from the clinic led to Russell’s death from sepsis.
‘“How many teenagers have to die before we protect them and give them the resources and support they need?” Foster asked.
Meanwhile, the Boxer amendment would say that the bill would not apply at all to any minor who has an abortion as "a result of a pregnancy caused by an act of incest."
That means that a brother or uncle who has impregnated a teenage girl can take her to another state for a secret abortion without her parents knowing.
“The Boxer Amendment does far more harm than good," Swann said.
"It would eliminate protection of incest victims and in some circumstances doubly victimize them," Swann explained. "For instance, if a young teen were raped by her adult brother, Sen. Boxer would let him transport his sister across state lines to terminate the pregnancy. He may never be held accountable."
Swann’s group also opposes a third amendment, put forward by pro-abortion Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, which would promote teaching teenagers both abstinence education as well as giving them information about contraception and birth control.
"We firmly oppose adoption of this amendment because it promotes a mixed message to students regarding healthy and safe decisions about sex," Swann said.
Polls show Americans strongly support parental involvement laws on abortion.
In a national poll of 1,000 adults conducted in April 2005 by The Polling Company, 82 percent disagreed (including 75% who strongly disagreed and 7% who somewhat disagreed) that "a person should be able to take a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge."
Just 15 percent agreed that non-parents should be able to take teens to other states for an abortion without informing her parents.