Rubio is one of a handful of ultra-conservative Republican Senators sponsoring a federal parental notification act. Called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Rubio claims the law is designed to give states the authority to ensure parents are notified whenever any minor tries to access abortion care, no matter the circumstances. Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is sponsoring a companion bill in the House.
According to Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen, states now offer a patchwork approach to policing minors. Rubio’s bill would standardize parental notification requirements and make transporting a minor to obtain an abortion in another state in an effort to avoid parental involvement a crime. The bill also mandates that abortion providers also notify the parents of any minor who has traveled to their clinic from out of state before an abortion could be performed.
Rubio claims his law will protect minors from “an overzealous interstate abortion industry” which is conservative-speak for hospitals and clinics who provide necessary health care to minors in need. “With the rights of parents and the safety of our daughters at risk, Congress must take action to prevent underage abortions by giving states the federal backing necessary to enforce parental involvement laws,” Rubio said. “These laws allow teenagers to receive the advice and guidance of a loved one before undergoing a procedure for which they may not be medically or emotionally prepared.”
Conservatives’ feigned concern over teenagers accessing health care is really something when placed alongside their universal disdain for Medicaid, family planning programs and comprehensive sex-education. But for Rubio in particular, taking the lead publicly on a bill like this is designed to mint him as the Latino Paul Ryan in the eyes of conservatives who are desperately trying to simply re-package the disastrous platform from 2012 and hope voters don’t notice in 2016. So far Rubio seems plenty willing to play along, and that means that, once again, abortion politics will be front-and-center in the midterm elections and the 2016 race for the White House.
Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr.