[editor’s note, by lapin]Susanhbu wrote about this legislation when it was still a proposal in an earlier diary, here.

In a move to chill access to abortion, the US House this week passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.  The stated intent of the legislation is to “strengthen parental rights,” but effectively the bill will curtail access to abortion for those teenagers who must go to a state beside their own to access abortion services.  The bill places severe penalties on those adults who accompany women under 18 years of age across state lines to reach an abortion provider.  The maximum penalty is a $100,000 fine, a year in jail, or both.  The bill has been dubbed by opponents as the “the grandmother incarceration act.”    

President Bush is urging the Senate to take up a bill passed by the House this week that makes it a federal crime — complete with possible fines and jail sentences — for doctors or other adults to help patients under 18 evade parental-notification requirements by crossing state lines for an abortion.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council and father of three daughters, said in an interview that the bill was one of his group’s top priorities for the year and called it “a recognition of parental authority.”

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, countered that the bill is “a bureaucratic nightmare” and is part of a multi-track strategy by conservatives that includes packing the judiciary with judges sympathetic to their views.

The bill, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, passed the House on Wednesday night by 270 to 157, with 216 Republicans in favor and 145 Democrats against. Crossing party lines were 54 Democrats who supported the bill and 11 Republicans who opposed it. The bill makes an exception if the abortion is necessary to save the life of the minor. The House passed similar bills in 1998, 1999 and 2002, but none passed the Senate.

There are provisions in the House bill to protect teens who seek abortions and whose lives are endangered or who may be subject to parental/guardian abuse if the parent/guardian receives notification:

The House bill has a provision, not in the Senate version, that requires an out-of-state abortion provider to notify one parent with three exceptions: if the patient shows documentation that she has exercised a judicial bypass provision; if she signs a statement saying she is a victim of neglect, or physical or sexual abuse, by a parent; or if her life is in danger.

Here’s a link to the roll call vote.  You may want to check for your rep’s position on this.  This is one of those bills that kind of slipped in under the radar.  Have no doubts, if this passes the Senate, the Family Research Council and their affiliates will be emboldened to launch further attacks on access to abortion.

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