Most states across the country have some form of parental consent or parental notification law that requires a minor get the consent of a parent, grandparent, or some other trusted adult before having an abortion. Republicans in Congress are looking to federalize those laws.
H.R. 2288, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) is a bill designed to prevent teenagers under 18 from going to a state without parental consent or notification in order to obtain an abortion.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) sponsored the bill to make sure that “parental rights are upheld, while promoting the inherent dignity of the unborn.” Let’s be clear here that parental rights in this context are not the rights of the teen parent, but of her parents.
Republicans have brought federal parental consent bills in the past, but this is the first time CIANA actually got a hearing. That is indicative of the continued shift rightward in the abortion debate and the willingness by anti-choice advocates to have this debate play out with women’s lives.
Minors are able to provide consent for nearly every other area of their healthcare, including consenting to prenatal care, obtaining HIV and STI screening, and accessing mental health services. In states with parental consent laws young women are more likely to have abortions later in their pregnancy–procedures that come with a higher risk of complications and expense.
So at least Rep. Ros-Lehtinen is being candid when she admits this bill is not about promoting sound public health policy but making an already difficult to access procedure all but impossible to get.
Photo from ejwlover via flickr.