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A Ringing Defense of CIANA

by | Mar 30, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Prof. Teresa Collett

On Tuesday the House Judiciary Committee voted 20-13 in favor of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.).The bill would require any abortionist to notify a parent before performing an abortion on a minor who is a resident of another state, with certain exceptions.

More than half of the states require notification of or consent from at least one parent, or authorization from a court, prior to performance of an abortion on a minor, but these laws are often avoided by minors who cross state lines, either on their own or with the collaboration of abortion providers and others.

Earlier this month Teresa Collett, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, testified in favor of the bill at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing. Today Prof. Collett published a piece on the www.thepublicdiscourse.com site where she highlighted some of the arguments she made in her March 9 testimony.

The introduction to her essay aptly summarizes her argument:

“The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) isn’t ‘mean-spirited,’ ‘constitutionally suspect,’ or ‘callous.’ [A reference to a New York Times editorial.] It is a popular commonsense proposal that is fully constitutional.”

Let me highlight just a few of Prof. Collett’s highlights.

  • “Various reasons underlie the popular support of these laws. As Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter observed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, parental involvement laws for abortions ‘are based on the quite reasonable assumption that minors will benefit from consultation with their parents and that children will often not realize that their parents have their best interests at heart.’”
  • Contrary to one of the cardinal pro-abortion talking points, many teens do not share with their parents. Studies from the Guttmacher Institute (founded by PPFA) show that fewer than half of pregnant teens tell their parents they are pregnant. Likewise, unlike what the New York Times editorial page would have you believe, when they do tell their parents, “very few experience ill effects from the disclosure.”
  • “The claim that minors will resort to unsafe alternatives is equally bogus. A 2007 study of self-induced medical abortions reported no cases involving children or adolescents. Similarly, notwithstanding the fact that parental involvement laws have been on the books in various states for over thirty years, there has been no case in which it has been established that a minor was injured as the result of obtaining an illegal or self-induced abortion in an attempt to avoid parental involvement.”
  • Many teens have “partners” who are older, often much older. Thus it is no surprise “that many teen pregnancies are the result of coercion and statutory rape.” Parental involvement laws “are just one way the law can attempt to protect young girls from the predatory practices of some men.”
  • There is much, much more, particularly about the benefits of parents knowing about their minor daughter’s pregnancy.  To name just three: they will be more likely to select ethical medical providers; they know about their minor daughter’s medical history; and if the minor has had an abortion, her parents can more readily identify post-abortion complications .

Prof. Collett ends her essay at www.the publicdiscourse.com with a ringing defense of CIANA:

“It is grounded by the reality that parents are nearly always the first to help a teen in trouble, and that fact does not change when the ‘trouble’ is an unplanned pregnancy. There is no other elective surgery that minors can obtain while keeping their parents in the dark, and the controversy surrounding this Act shows just how severely the judicial creation of abortion rights has distorted American law.”

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Categories: Legislation