The House passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for abortions, the latest effort to chip away at abortion rights after Republican gains in the November elections.

By 270-157, the House sent the bill to the Senate, where the policy has new momentum as an item on the Republicans’ top 10 list of legislative priorities.

In another sign of the measure’s new support, Democratic Rep. William Clay of Missouri, who staunchly favors abortion rights and voted against the measure in the past, voted for it on Wednesday. Clay said he switched in response to an outpouring of support for the bill from constituents in his St. Louis district.

”This bill simply says that a parent has a right to know if their child is having surgery,” Clay said.

Voting for it were 216 Republicans and 54 Democrats.

Democrats complained that their efforts to soften the bill, for example, by exempting from prosecution adult siblings and grandparents who help pregnant minors, were described in the GOP-authored committee report as efforts to protect ”sexual predators.”

The measure provides certain exceptions to a mandatory waiting period and punishments, such as when the abortion would save the life of the mother. Also excepted are any physician presented with documentation showing that a court in the minor’s home state waived any parental notification requirements. In addition the bill makes an exception for minors who have signed a written statement saying that she is a victim of sexual abuse by a parent and can back it up with documentation of having reported that abuse to a state authority.

The House rejected two Democratic amendments that would have added immunity from prosecution and civil suits confidants of the minor who help transport her — such as grandparents and clergy — and others involved in the violation, such as taxicab and bus drivers.

Bebe J. Anderson, a lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said it would produce ”a confusing maze of requirements … designed to isolate some teens and leave others with no safe options.” link

It is probably not necessary to comment too much on this here, but for the benefit of lurkers who may be unaware, young girls who find themselves in the unfortunate position of confronting an unwanted pregnancy who have loving, understanding and supportive parents do not need any laws in order to be able to talk to mom or dad about this or any other problem.

The children who will suffer, many of whom will die, if the US passes this legislation, are victims of sexual abuse and rape, usually at the hands of a family member or “family friend,” who are too frightened to tell anyone about their situation, much less walk into the police station or the courthouse and start signing denunciations of their abuser, and then walk back to the house where the abuser lives.

There is more chance that a counselor at a reproductive clinic will be able to gain enough of the girl’s confidence to be able to help her, and more likely that the counselor will have the resources, and the will, to help her here and now, where do I sleep tonight, please not in the prison, issues than “law enforcement” personnel or judicial bureaucrats.

And if she’s a girl in a small community where everybody down at the courthouse knows Dad, or Uncle Secret, or in cases where Dad or Uncle Secret are exactly whom she will see if she walks in there, well, you figure it out.

There is also the reality that the US is a very diverse society, with some very wide differences regarding cultural values and practices. In some cultures, for example, and no, it has nothing to do with Islam, rape victims are seen as having brought shame to the family.

These girls are minors, and they do need protection – they need the protection of a society that puts a higher value on their lives than this.

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