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Public Statements

Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - April 27, 2005)

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I support H.R. 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. This bill creates criminal offenses that are long overdue at the Federal level and are needed to prevent the disregard of a parent's right to know when their child is seeking a major medical procedure-an abortion.

The legislation makes it a Federal crime to transport a minor, for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, from a State that requires parental notification, across State lines to a State that does not require parental notification.

Almost half of the States, including my home State of Texas, currently require parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion. However these laws are being circumvented by individuals who want to undermine the rights of parents. Such individuals can include abusive boyfriends who pressure their young girlfriends into having an abortion, older men who rape young females and want to hide their crime, and minor females who may not know all of the emotional and physical repercussions of having an abortion.

The bill also makes it a Federal crime for an abortion provider not to give the parent or legal guardian of a minor seeking an abortion 24 hours' notice in advance of the procedure, if the minor crosses State lines to have the abortion. The 24-hour notice period will allow parents the time necessary to discuss the ramifications of an abortion, and possible options such as adoption, with their daughters.

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act protects a minor's ability to have an abortion in cases of parental sexual abuse as long as the abortion provider informs the appropriate State authorities of the abuse. The ability to have an abortion is also protected in cases in which the minor's life is threatened if the abortion is not performed immediately.

There is a great deal of support and precedent for a law like this. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld the constitutionality of State parental notification laws. According to a March 2005 Quinniac University poll, 75 percent of those polled agree that parental notification should be required before a minor can obtain an abortion. We in the House of Representatives have shown our support for such laws by passing legislation similar to the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act three previous times-in 1998, 1999, and 2002. Now it is time for this legislation to pass again and be signed into law by the President.

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