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U.S. House passes parental notification bill; NRLC calls on Senate Democrats to cease obstruction

Apr 27, 2005 | 2005 Press Releases

This is a news release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, issued Wednesday, April 27, 2005, at 7 PM EDT.   For further informationsend e-mail to Legfederal@aol.com.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives today gave strong approval to legislation requiring parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, after which the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) called on the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Senate to stop obstructing parental notification legislation.

The House passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA, H.R. 748) by a bipartisan margin of 270-157.  The bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.).

In the Senate, a parental notification bill (S. 8/S. 403), sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nv.), has 38 sponsors (37 of them Republicans).  This bill has been listed among the “top ten” priorities by the Senate Republican leadership, but the Senate Democratic Leadership has erected procedural obstacles that have prevented its early consideration.

“It is outrageous that the Senate Democratic caucus has thrown up procedural obstacles to block parental notification legislation, despite numerous polls showing 75 percent or more of the public supports requiring parental notification,” commented NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

In a national poll of 1,000 adults conducted April 21-24 by The Polling Company, Inc., released today, respondents were asked, “Do you agree or disagree that a person should be able to take a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge?  And would you say you strongly agree/disagree or somewhat agree/disagree?”  82% disagreed (including 75% who strongly disagreed and 7% who somewhat disagreed), while only 15% agreed (including 7% strongly agreed and 8% who somewhat agreed).

About half of the states currently have parental notification or consent laws in effect.  However, these laws are often circumvented by minors traveling or being transported to other states that do not have parental notification requirements, often under pressure from older boyfriends or at the urging of agents of abortion providers.   The CIANA would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion if this is done to evade a state parental involvement law, unless a state court has issued a waiver.

In addition, the CIANA requires any abortionist to notify a parent before performing an abortion on a minor who is a resident of another state, unless the minor has already received authorization from a court in her home state, or unless the abortionist is already required to provide such parental notification by a current law in the state in which he practices.  If the minor asserts that she is the victim of abuse, the abortionist would notify the appropriate state child abuse agency instead of a parent.

The House rejected amendments to exempt certain classes of non-parents, including members of the clergy, from the scope of the bill.

President Bush supports the bill.  To view the official Statement of Administration Policy on the legislation, click here.  (PDF file)

NRLC’s position on the CIANA, including rebuttal to criticisms of the bill, was explained in a letter sent to U.S. House members on April 22, which is posted here:
http://nrlc.org///federal/ccpa/HouseLetter043305

The NRLC website also contains documentation on other polls on parental notification, information on state parental notification laws, and powerful testimony presented to Congress in support of the bill, all at:
http://nrlc.org///federal/ccpa/