Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a group of senators to introduce the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). If enacted, this legislation would give states the authority they need to properly enforce laws requiring a parent to be notified before their minor daughter receives an abortion.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Bob Corker (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deborah Fischer (R-NE), Charles Grassley (R-IA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), David Vitter (R-LA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). A House version of the bill is being sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
Many states have adopted parental notification laws to protect minors and the rights of parents. These laws, however, are easily and often circumvented due to differing abortion laws in neighboring states. There is currently no federal framework in place to prevent a minor from traveling across state lines to undergo an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. CIANA would prohibit the act of transporting a minor to obtaining an abortion if this action evades the parental involvement law in her home state. In addition, it would require abortion providers to notify a parent of an out-of-state minor before performing an abortion.
Senator Marco Rubio: "With the rights of parents and the safety of our nation's daughters at risk, Congress must take action to prevent underage abortions by giving states the federal backing necessary to enforce their parental involvement laws. These laws allow teenagers to receive the advice and guidance of a loved one before undergoing a procedure for which they may not be medically or emotionally prepared. Under current law, minors are subject to the exploitation and safety risks that often come from an overzealous interstate abortion industry."
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: "Senator Rubio is a strong advocate on behalf of American families, and I am proud to join him and several of my colleagues in introducing this important legislation. As parents, we are responsible for our children and parental involvement is almost always required before a child can receive medical treatment, and it should also be required when their minor daughter is taken across state lines for an abortion. I believe that every life has worth, and I will continue to push for legislation that protects innocent life."
Senator Orrin Hatch: "Senator Rubio and I have brought this bill to the table again because the parents in this nation should be permitted to guide and help their children make decisions, particularly one as profound and life-changing as choosing to have an abortion. We've taken into consideration appropriate exceptions and safeguards, and we feel that this is legislation the vast majority of Americans can agree on. This bill is a legitimate, constitutional way for Congress to address this issue and help protect children and support parents."
Senator Roy Blunt: "I'm proud to support Senator Rubio's important legislation, which will help protect America's children and provide more consistency regarding critical parental notification nationwide. By empowering states to enforce their laws, this bill will rightly safeguard against children making a drastic and life-changing decision without their parents' involvement."
Senator John Boozman: "We need to promote an appreciation for the family and for all human life. As a father I understand the importance of being involved in the lives of teenagers. This legislation arms parents with the right to stop teen abortions. Parents need to do what is best for their children and they need to be aware of decisions they make."
Senator Richard Burr: "I am proud to support this common sense bill which protects the rights of parents to be informed and involved in the serious life and death decisions involving their child."
Senator Saxby Chambliss: "As a pro-life American and a father, I believe parents have every right to be involved in the health and medical decisions of their minor children. I am pleased to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring this legislation."
Senator Charles Grassley: "This initiative values the role of parents in our society, to guide and protect their children. The legislation is needed to support state notification laws and to prevent individuals from circumventing them, so that parents have a say in medical decisions for their children."
Senator James Inhofe: "It is important that the Senate act to protect the young women of our country and ensure parents are involved when their children are making decisions that can lead to serious health complications and regret later in life. I have long been a staunch supporter of family values and protecting the sanctity of life, and this bill takes a positive step in promoting both. I am proud to stand by Sen. Rubio and my fellow colleagues as we continue to implement pro-life legislation in the Senate."
Senator Mike Johanns: "Abortions can have long-term physical and psychological repercussions. Parents need to be prepared to help their children and counsel them on alternative choices, instead of being kept in the dark until it is too late."
Senator Jim Risch: "I am pro-life and always have been. CIANA ensures parents are involved when their child is seeking to undergo a medical procedure. When schools can't even give a student an aspirin without a parent's permission, a doctor should never be allowed to perform an abortion on a minor child without at least notifying the parents."
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the bill's House sponsor added, "I'm pleased to have the support of my Congressional colleagues in re-introducing this commonsense legislation. This bill will protect parents' rights to be involved in decisions relating to their minor children. There are many health and safety risks associated with abortions and it is our duty to protect minors from exploitation from the abortion industry. This bill is the right step in protecting parental rights and ensuring that young girls have a safer, healthier, and brighter future."