New Senate Bill Helps Enforce Abortion-Parental Involvement Laws

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 23, 2011   |   7:44AM   |   Washington, DC

A new U.S. Senate bill would help states across the country better enforce their parental involvement laws on abortion that require teen girls to get their parents permision or notify them about a decision to have an abortion.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida introduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah that would help states enforce laws requiring that parents be notified before their child has an abortion. The legislation is needed as sexual abusers, family members and even staff at abortion centers routinely take teenage girls across state lines for secret abortions without their parents knowledge or permission.

“The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would help prevent the evasion of parental consent and notification laws in 36 states,” Senator Rubio said. “State parental involvement laws have been undermined and circumvented by those who simply travel to other states. It is important that this practice end permanently and states have the ability to enforce their laws.”

If enacted, CIANA would serve two goals, Rubio explained. First, it would prohibit the act of knowingly taking a minor across state lines with the intent of obtaining an abortion if this action evades the parental involvement law in her home state. And second, it would require abortion providers to notify a parent of an out-of-state minor before performing an abortion. With disparate state laws regarding parental involvement all across the country, this bill would ensure those state laws are enforced regardless of where an abortion may be performed.

“I’m proud to stand with Senator Rubio in introducing this important legislation that is based on the belief that children should not make profound life-changing decisions by themselves and that parents are the best and most responsible position to help them,” said Hatch. “It includes appropriate exceptions and safeguards in order to focus on what unites the vast majority of Americans, that parents should be involved before their child has an abortion. This bill is a legitimate and constitutional way for Congress to help protect children and support parents.”

CIANA allows for punishment, in the form of fines or imprisonment, of physicians who knowingly perform an abortion on a minor who has traveled across state lines and any individual who transported the minor across state lines. This legislation does not apply in the cases of a medical emergency, abuse or neglect.