House Considers Bill Federalizing Parental Consent Laws for Abortion

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rutlo/4557820667/sizes/m/in/photostream/">rutlo</a>/Flickr

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The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives is considering legislation that would enact stringent new limitations on minors who seek an abortion outside of their home state. The “Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act” effectively federalizes state laws aimed at preventing women under the age of 18 from obtaining an abortion, and would impose harsh penalties on doctors or anyone else who assists the minor without first informering her parent or guardian.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) introduced the bill in June 2011. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the measure on Thursday, a signal that it may advance in the near future. The bill requires a minor’s parent or guardian to be notified in writing and a 24-hour waiting period after that notification before the young woman can obtain the abortion.

Doctors or anyone who assists the minor without first informing her parents may be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for up to a year for violating this law. Thirty-seven states currently require parental involvement of some type, if a minor seeks an abortion, the law is meant to prevent anyone from traveling to another state to avoid those laws. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) introduced the Senate version of the bill last June as well, declaring that it was an effort to ensure state parental laws are not “undermined and circumvented.”

While the sponsors insist that the law would not apply in cases of “medical emergency, abuse or neglect,” it would put the burden on the young woman to prove that she is, in fact, a victim of one of those circumstances. The Center for Reproductive Rights contends that the law would subject the young women, their doctors, and anyone who might help them to a “confusing maze of overlapping and conflicting state and federal laws—making it more difficult and more dangerous for young women to obtain abortions.”

The bill, CRR maintains, “fails to consider the reasons why a teen would turn to another adult like her grandmother or aunt for support, and could force young women to instead rely on an abusive caretaker, choose to travel alone or turn to unsafe alternatives to terminating her pregnancy.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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