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Child Custody Protection Act--Continued

Location: Washington, DC

CHILD CUSTODY PROTECTION ACT--Continued -- (Senate - July 25, 2006)


Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I rise today in support of S. 403, the Child Custody Protection Act. This bill prohibits transporting minors across State lines to obtain an abortion without parental notice or consent. I have and will continue to fight for the protection of children in the womb as well as the safety of minors.

I believe that life begins at the moment of conception and that children in the womb deserve the same rights and protection as all other human beings.

The Child Custody Protection Act will not only help protect these children in the womb, it will also protect their young mothers and families by involving parents who have their best interests at heart.

I believe we can all agree that our young girls must be protected, and the laws put in place for that purpose must be upheld. Currently, 45 States have laws that require notification, consent, or some type of consultation with a minor's parent or guardian before she can legally have an abortion. However, there are no laws to prevent a minor from crossing State borders and having an abortion performed in a State without such laws.

This practice disregards abortion policies of individual States, implicates interstate commerce, and endangers young girls by allowing them to have dangerous abortion procedures performed without the guidance of their parent or guardian. The Child Custody Protection Act prohibits transporting a minor across a State line for the purpose of obtaining an abortion if doing so circumvents a parental notification or consent statute in the minor's residing State.

The Child Custody Protection Act will not change the parental notification or consent laws of any individual State, but will help to enforce these laws by helping to prevent minors from being taken out of a State for an abortion without a parent's knowledge or consent. This bill will actually reinforce State policies that are already in place.

Sadly, many young girls have been taken out of State by an individual other than her parent or guardian to obtain an abortion and have been subjected to unsafe and unlawful abortion procedures that endanger them physically and mentally. Abortion can cause physical and emotional complications for a young girl, and these dangers are greatly increased by taking her away from of the influence of her parents or guardian, placing her in the hands of an individual who does not have her best interests in mind.

Crystal Farley Lane was one such victim. When she was 12 years old, she became pregnant after tragically being raped by a 19-year-old man. Rosa Hartford, the man's mother, then took Crystal from her home in Pennsylvania, without her mother's knowledge or consent, to New York, where there were no parental consent laws, to have an abortion. After the procedure, Ms. Hartford abandoned young Crystal, who had serious medical complications, 30 miles from her home. When Crystal's mother, Joyce Farley, found out what happened and tried to help by asking the abortionist for Crystal's medical records, she was denied. Fortunately, Ms. Farley was able to help her obtain the medical care she needed in time, despite this obstacle by the abortionist.

Crystal's near-death experience could have been prevented had the Child Custody Protection Act been in place. Instead, there are currently no laws to prevent people like Ms. Hartford from taking Crystal out of Pennsylvania to obtain an abortion without parental consent.

Ms. Farley poignantly testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, ``situations such as this are what the `Child Custody Act' was designed to help prevent. I am a loving, responsible parent whose parenting was interfered with by an adult unknown to me.''

In another instance, Marcia Carroll's 14-year-old daughter was forced into having an abortion by her boyfriend's family. The family took her from Pennsylvania to New York without Ms. Carroll's knowledge or consent, left her alone to have an abortion that she did not want to have, and then left her a block from her home in Pennsylvania. This 14-year-old girl had to go through a frightening and painful abortion procedure on her own and was then left to deal with the physical and emotional pain from an abortion that she did not want to have.

I find it terribly unjust that there are no laws to prevent situations such as these from happening and that families have no recourse against those who are responsible.

Very often, adult men, who are on average 6 to 7 years older than their victims, are the culprits of this violating crime against these young girls. Two-thirds of these adult men are 20 years of age or older. Additionally, more than half of the time it is a girl's boyfriend who takes her to another State to have an abortion without her parents' consent. An abortion performed in a jurisdiction that prohibits release of the medical records destroys any evidence that might have been used against a perpetrator to prosecute him for statutory rape and leaves him free to continue preying on these young girls without consequence.

The incongruity of this status is striking. There are so many restrictions to protect our minors from making bad decisions by requiring parental consent for their actions. They must have parental consent to take medication at school, even an aspirin. They cannot go on a school field trip without a permission slip signed by a parent. Why, then, can a young girl who cannot take an aspirin without the consent of her parents, cross a State border and have an abortion without notifying them? And why can an adult be prosecuted for giving a child aspirin but not for taking her to another state to have an abortion?

By reinforcing State abortion laws requiring parental notification or consent, the Child Custody Protection Act will protect our young daughters from making or being coerced into poor, irreversible, life-changing decisions. I believe we can all agree that action must be taken to prevent the evasion of laws created to protect minors and their families and help preserve the precious lives of children in the womb. I ask that this Chamber quickly pass this lifesaving legislation.

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