This week, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced the Child Custody Protection Act (S.32), legislation which would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across a state line for an abortion if it would circumvent a state law requiring parental involvement in that minor's abortion. Ohio and the majority of other states require parents' involvement if their minor children have an abortion. Yet, 13 states and the District of Columbia do not have such laws on the books. Minors who live in the states bordering on these outliers are often transported across state lines for abortions as a way to get around their home-state parental involvement requirements.
"While our nation is divided on whether or not abortion should be legal, on one point there is a growing consensus: we must all work together to reduce the number of abortions. By helping to ensure that the parental involvement laws of states are not undermined by transporting minors across state lines, my bill will bring us one step closer toward this goal," said Portman.
"Ohio Right to Life and its statewide membership applauds Senator Rob Portman for sponsoring the Child Custody Protection Act, which when enacted will protect minors and ensure parents are involved and have knowledge of their child's safety and well being," said Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life. "Nationally, we are witnessing increased efforts by abortion clinics encouraging minors to travel across state lines to circumvent parent involvement. We must continue to protect our children from the predatory practices and advertisements of those wishing to turn a profit through abortion, and we thank Senator Portman for his leadership."
The Child Custody Protection Act provides criminal and civil penalties in the form of fines or imprisonment up to one year, or both, for knowingly transporting a minor across a state line to skirt parental consent or notification law for abortion that is in effect in the minor's state of residence.
Portman's bill does not change existing state laws regarding minors' abortions, nor does the bill impose any parental notice or consent requirement on states that do not currently have parental involvement laws. The Child Custody Protection Act deals only with interstate transportation of minors to circumvent existing state laws. Ohio law requires the consent of one parent in order for a minor to get an abortion. Large, nearby states such as New York and Illinois, however, do not have such restrictions, and providers in those states have marketed their services to minors in states with parental consent requirements.