Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act

Originally published April 5, 2012

Girls Deserve Better than Statutory Rape and Secret Abortions: Would you let some man take your daughter to surgery without telling you? How about taking her across state lines?

Unbelievably, there is no legal protection against taking a child across state lines for an abortion, even if you live in a state that requires parental notification or approval for an abortion upon a child.

Who takes under-aged, pregnant girls across state lines for abortion? Most often, it’s noncustodial, older men who are sexual predators seeking to conceal the crime of statutory rape or other noncustodial adults involved in sex trafficking of minors.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Feminists for Life has long championed protections against sexual assault. We are the only pro-life member of a task force which helped pass the Violence Against Women Act, and we are the only feminists who testified before the U.S. House Judiciary in support of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (Laci and Conner’s Law).

Feminists for Life opposes all forms of violence against women and children — including abortion and rape. Every rape is non-consensual. Every rape is forced. Every rape is wrong. There are no exceptions. There are no exceptions for sexual assaults committed by family members or friends. There are no exceptions for sexual assault by strangers, sex traffickers, or johns; for statutory rape of minors or group sexual assaults; for sexual assaults of boys; or for rape by coercion or facilitated by alcohol or drugs (such as Rohypnol). Whether domestic or international, every rape is wrong, and justice for all.

Feminists for Life demands an end to violence and discrimination in every circumstance. We encourage efforts that prevent violence against women through resources, support, and education. We favor prosecution of those who commit acts of violence against women and children.

Feminists for Life urges consistency in our laws, focus on prevention, and provision of support for those who have experienced various forms of violence. Rapists should be prosecuted no matter if the victim becomes pregnant or not, no matter if she has an abortion, miscarriage, or live birth. And it goes both ways. If the rapist is a woman preying on minor boys, the adult is responsible.

Our consistent belief in feminist principles is why we support passage of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), H.R. 2299.

The U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution recently voted to support CIANA. If passed, CIANA would provide up to a one year imprisonment for anyone who performs an abortion on an out-of-state minor not accompanied by a parent. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has 158 co-sponsors and bipartisan support; Senator Marco Rubio has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Opponents of the bill argue that in some circumstances pregnant girls turn to adults not their parents for help in crisis pregnancy. If these adults, such as grandmothers or adult sisters, cannot assist the teen in procuring an abortion across state lines, opponents argue, then minors will seek unsafe alternatives to terminate pregnancy.

Experts reject this argument. Dr. Bruce Lucero — who has performed over 45,000 abortions — cautioned that men who get minors pregnant, not the minors’ parents, are the issue. Dr. Lucero wrote in The New York Times,

“. . . a parent’s input is the best guarantee that a teen-ager will make a decision that is correct for her — be it abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. And it helps guarantee that if a teenager chooses an abortion, she will receive appropriate medical care.”

Teenagers seeking abortions out of state, Dr. Lucero added, often delay until the procedure is more expensive and riskier. Without parental involvement, pregnant minors are less likely to return to clinics for follow-up care or tell their parents they are suffering complications following an abortion.

Polls consistently show that 70 percent of Americans strongly favor parents being notified when a minor seeks an abortion and that a majority of Americans also favor laws that would prevent the transportation of minors over state lines to circumvent parental notification.

The lives of young girls are irrevocably changed by predators who rape them then transport them for a secret abortion. Girls — as well as Women Deserve better® than Abortion. Parents have a right to know and a responsibility to protect their daughters.

Serrin M. Foster has led Feminists for Life since 1994. This blog post first appeared at Read Serrin’s original testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary in support of Laci and Connor’s Act and Serrin’s answer to the key question, “What about rape? as it relates to abortion. She invites you to join Feminists for Life on Facebook.