House Passes Abortion Restrictions for Minors

  1. I thought the bolded phrase was a little ironic...Oh yeah..it's the NYT! So much for objectivity in the mainstream media.
    __________________________________________________ ______________
    April 27, 2005

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Filed at 9:31 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for abortions, the latest effort to chip away at abortion rights after Republican gains in the November elections.

    By 270-157, the House sent the bill to the Senate, where the policy has new momentum as an item on the Republicans' top 10 list of legislative priorities.

    Reflecting rising public support for requiring parents' involvement in their pregnant daughters' decisions, the bill would impose fines, jail time or both on adults and doctors involved in most cases where minors were taken out of state to get abortions.

    In a statement, President Bush praised the House for passing the measure. ''The parents of pregnant minors can provide counsel, guidance and support to their children and should be involved in these decisions,'' Bush said. ''I urge the Senate to pass this important legislation and help continue to build a culture of life in America.''

    This was the third time since 1998 the House has approved such a measure sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. The Senate has never taken it up and no vote has been set, but Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., expects to bring up a similar measure this summer, according to spokeswoman Amy Call.

    In another sign of the measure's new support, Democratic Rep. William Clay of Missouri, who staunchly favors abortion rights and voted against the measure in the past, voted for it on Wednesday. Clay said he switched in response to an outpouring of support for the bill from constituents in his St. Louis district.

    ''This bill simply says that a parent has a right to know if their child is having surgery,'' Clay said.

    Voting for it were 216 Republicans and 54 Democrats. Voting against it were 145 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 1 Independent.

    If passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the policy would represent the fifth measure since Bush took office in 2001 aimed at reducing the number of abortions.

    Senate abortion opponents prevailed last month in preventing Democrats from restricting the rights of abortion clinic protesters in bankruptcy court.

    Tempers flared in the House even before the emotional floor debate.

    Democrats complained that their efforts to soften the bill, for example, by exempting from prosecution adult siblings and grandparents who help pregnant minors, were described in the GOP-authored committee report as efforts to protect ''sexual predators.''

    Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who authored the panel's report, defended its language, saying the Democratic amendments would not have specifically excluded child molesters from protections.

    ''Perhaps these amendments were not properly drafted by the authors when they were submitted in the committee,'' Sensenbrenner told the House. ''That's not the fault of the majority, that's the fault of the people who drafted the amendment.''

    Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., called the report by Sensenbrenner's committee ''a rape of the rules of this House.''

    ''Would it be fair for an official report of this committee to call this entire bill the 'Rapists and Sexual Predators Right to Sue Act?''' Nadler asked rhetorically.

    Last year, Congress made it a separate crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman. It also decided to deny federal funds to state and local agencies that act against health care providers and insurers because they don't provide or pay for abortions.

    In 2003 it outlawed what critics call partial birth abortions, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being aborted. A year earlier, lawmakers amended the legal definitions for person, human being, child and individual to include any fetus that survives an abortion procedure.

    The bill defines a minor as anyone ''not older than'' 18. More than 30 states have parental notification or consent laws.

    The measure provides certain exceptions to a mandatory waiting period and punishments, such as when the abortion would save the life of the mother. Also excepted are any physician presented with documentation showing that a court in the minor's home state waived any parental notification requirements. In addition the bill makes an exception for minors who have signed a written statement saying that she is a victim of sexual abuse by a parent and can back it up with documentation of having reported that abuse to a state authority.

    The House rejected two Democratic amendments that would have added immunity from prosecution and civil suits confidants of the minor who help transport her -- such as grandparents and clergy -- and others involved in the violation, such as taxicab and bus drivers.

    Opponents say any gains the bill might make would be dwarfed by health, abuse and legal problems that pregnant girls and their well-meaning confidants might suffer.

    Bebe J. Anderson, a lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said it would produce ''a confusing maze of requirements ... designed to isolate some teens and leave others with no safe options.''

    ''No matter how few people it affects, it's an important bill on the principles,'' said Frist, a Tennessee Republican who is looking at seeking his party's presidential nomination in 2008.

    ------

    The bill is H.R. 748
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/nati...rint&position=
    Last edit by BeachNurse on Apr 27, '05
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  2. 56 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    As a mother who is pro-choice my feelings are very mixed. I WOULD want to know if my daughter were to undergo an abortion under the age of 18.....but there are cases where parents could/would make a bad situation much worse for some minors, esp those who are victims of rape or coercion. Some parents are far from parental or nurturing, that much I know first-hand.

    So I am very mixed on this one. Part of me is very sorry this passed, really, when thinking of some of the people it may hurt. But again, as a mom, I can't help but feel I would want to know my daughter were to face a decision like this.
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    From what I read there are safeguards built in for minors -

    "Also excepted are any physician presented with documentation showing that a court in the minor's home state waived any parental notification requirements. In addition the bill makes an exception for minors who have signed a written statement saying that she is a victim of sexual abuse by a parent and can back it up with documentation of having reported that abuse to a state authority."

    I too would not be a very happy mom if someone took my daughter across state lines for a surgical procedure without my knowledge. Most parents would respond to an unintended pregnancy with normal disappointment and anger but most parents are not monsters and would end up being there for their daughters. In my opinion anyway. As a OB nurse, I see alot of teens and their parents have all been thrilled for the most part.

    I think the time has passed for the shame and embarrassment that used to accompany teen pregnancy and that might escalate into a more angry situation. Now it is not that big of a deal.

    steph
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    Why is every single commonsense measure that even slightly limits the right of any female of any age to abortion, seen as an attempt to abolish it entirely?? I can't understand how, in most situations, it would be a bad thing for parents to know their daughter is planning to have an abortion. My kids can't even take their asthma inhalers to school without me having to fill out a batch of paperwork giving the school permission to administer them, as they won't allow the children to actually CARRY one on their person (where it does the most good in an emergency :angryfire ). And since there's no school nurse, I have to rely on a secretary or a volunteer to assess whether they 'need' the inhaler or not before she unlocks the cabinet where student meds are stored......these boys of mine are 14 and 16, they've had asthma all their lives, you think they don't know when they need their MDI? The school doesn't trust them to self-administer their own lifesaving medications........but had the occasion arisen, it could have and probably would have helped my daughters to obtain abortions without my knowledge or permission, and that's just not right. :angryfire

    I don't want to see any teenager abused, physically, sexually, or emotionally, for becoming pregnant and seeking a way to end it. But the fact is, parents are held responsible for their children up to age 18, and they deserve to know what's going on in their teenagers' lives.........I myself would be furious if someone had taken one of my daughters to an abortion clinic without my consent........I have taught my children that while they must each follow their own consciences in this area, terminating a pregnancy is NOT approved of in this family. I won't judge anyone who has an abortion, nor do I believe I have the right to make that decision for other women; but I know I myself would never have one, and I don't want my children to think it's OK to steal away and have one without at least involving me. :stone
  6. by   Ted
    Just playing the Devil's Advocate here. . .


    What is dubious is that it appears that this bill is aimed just at abortion. Why not word the bill in such a way that "would make it illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for" ALL PROCEDURES which may include abortion?? Why just word the bill to include only abortion?? To me, if there was sincere concern regarding parental consent, the wording of the such a bill would be more inclusive, not just focused on one procedure.

    Any takes on these questions??
    Last edit by Ted on Apr 28, '05
  7. by   Mkue
    Voting for it were 216 Republicans and 54 Democrats. Voting against it were 145 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 1 Independent.
    Interesting.

    But the fact is, parents are held responsible for their children up to age 18, and they deserve to know what's going on in their teenagers' lives.........I myself would be furious if someone had taken one of my daughters to an abortion clinic without my consent........
    I agree Marla, we are responsible for our kids at least up to 18 and we deserve to know.
  8. by   fergus51
    I'm just not impressed with the safeguards for girls who are victims of abuse. They are only exempted if they have reported the abuse to the authorities? How many victims of incest do you know who go public like that? Fathers and stepfathers impregnating young girls happens more often than a lot of people realize and if this hurts even one such girl, I think it's terrible.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from fergus51
    I'm just not impressed with the safeguards for girls who are victims of abuse. They are only exempted if they have reported the abuse to the authorities? How many victims of incest do you know who go public like that? Fathers and stepfathers impregnating young girls happens more often than a lot of people realize and if this hurts even one such girl, I think it's terrible.
    This is what I was trying to say. It's not always about rprotecting abortion "rights" for me----but the people who find themselves in the situation where one is being considered.there are some MONSTROUS parents who would possibly make things even worse than the abortion issue facing some young girls. You don't know unless you walk a person's shoes how bad they have it at home, believe me. I would have died before bringing my parents into such a situation for me----God spared me, knowing what He was doing! Anyhow I digress....

    And I would love an anwer to Ted's very provocative question.

    Anyhow, like I said,l I am mixed.
  10. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from fergus51
    I'm just not impressed with the safeguards for girls who are victims of abuse. They are only exempted if they have reported the abuse to the authorities? How many victims of incest do you know who go public like that? Fathers and stepfathers impregnating young girls happens more often than a lot of people realize and if this hurts even one such girl, I think it's terrible.

    I so completely agree. As a mother, I would want to know if my child were pregnant also, but let's face it every child does not have that type of relationship with their parents and they are not necessarily victims of sexual abuse. What about those who are emotionally abused? It does happen. For a lot of girls, they would rather die than face parents who would be less than supportive or caring. I would not be surprised to hear more stories of babies found floating in toilets or in the trash as a result of this.
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from efiebke
    Just playing the Devil's Advocate here. . .


    What is dubious is that it appears that this bill is aimed just at abortion. Why not word the bill in such a way that "would make it illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for" ALL PROCEDURES which may include abortion?? Why just word the bill to include only abortion?? To me, if there was sincere concern regarding parental consent, the wording of the such a bill would be more inclusive, not just focused on one procedure.

    Any takes on these questions??
    Why do you even need any other procedure included? What procedure? Plastic surgery for increasing breast size? I'm not sure where you are going here Ted. What other medical and surgical procedures do schools take kids across states lines for? What other surgical and medical procedures do teenagers want to keep secret from their parents? I can think of no other except abortion.

    I think the law needs to be specific. Because schools have arranged for girls to have abortions w/o parental consent or knowledge and parents are pizzed that like Marla said, you can't use an asthma inhaler or take a Tylenol BUT you can have a surgical procedure that has a risk of hemorrhage and/or infection and the parents would have NO IDEA what to watch for . .. so a girl feels ill and sleeps in and her parents think nothing of it and she bleeds to death. Or gets an infection that affects her ability to have children? Come on - even though the risks of abortion are small, they are there. You really think teenage girls who refuse to acknowledge being pregnant or even in labor are going to be aware of the risks of abortion?

    I also still think the the days of having a parent want to beat the living daylights out of a girl for getting pregnant are mostly gone. There is NO negative connotation to being a teen mother anymore. Except maybe from OB nurses. Maybe if her mom is an OB nurse she should get an automatic exemption from having to tell her mom since her mom would most likely want to beat the living daylights out of her.

    Marla is right - we've become SO POLARIZED that we cannot even use some common sense without one side or the other thinking it is an attack on the whole thing.

    As to girls who are abused I can see that there needs to be a way to acknowledge that at the time of the pregnancy or after instead of having to have reported it before . .. .

    steph
  12. by   Ted
    Just playing "Devil's Advocate" here, Steph. . .

    I'm not aware of schools bussing children across state lines for abortions. Honestly, that is news to me. If such a practice takes place deliberately without parent's consent then I can understand a parent's anger if/when they should find out. . . just on the grounds that they were not consulted.

    But I have to admit that for a number of reasons I hold mixed opinions about this proposed law. Not all parents are reasonable. If a seventeen year old wanted an abortion and she had parents with a less than reasonable belief system, I would hate to see her unsupported. Also, when I threw out my questions, I questioned the sincerety of the intent of the law quite frankly because it is largely a Republican bill. I have NO respect for this party. None. I question EVERY decision made by them now just because their ideology is so freakin wacked. In my eyes, there hasn't been a reasonable policy made by them in a LONG time. So I question them; I question their thinking process, I question their motives. . . for every decision. They completely lost my trust.

    So now they care about parental rights. Well, they should put some meat to their "caring". Write a bill that is more inclusive. Why not have it worded as I proposed??

    Steph. . . it's going to take a LOOOOONG time for me to even begin to think about trusting the Republican Party again. Their ideology is so extreme it's dangerous. So I question this bill. And EVERY bill they bring forth SHOULD be questioned because they earned such a distrustful reputation in my books. I certainly do NOT trust the Republican Party to make laws regarding family matters. Their sense of God and religion, family, freedom to make decisions, caring, and . . . heck. . . even patriotism scare me. Steph, a significant part of the reason why we are so polarized as a country is because of the policies and decisions made by this political party. . .

    Ted
    Last edit by Ted on Apr 28, '05
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from efiebke
    Just playing "Devil's Advocate" here, Steph. . .

    I'm not aware of schools bussing children across state lines for abortions. Honestly, that is news to me. If such a practice takes place deliberately without parent's consent then I can understand a parent's anger if/when they should find out. . . just on the grounds that they were not consulted.

    But I have to admit that for a number of reasons I hold mixed opinions about this proposed law. Not all parents are reasonable. If a seventeen year old wanted an abortion and she had parents with a less than reasonable belief system, I would hate to see her unsupported. Also, when I threw out my questions, I questioned the sincerety of the intent of the law quite frankly because it is largely a Republican bill. I have NO respect for this party. None. I question EVERY decision made by them now just because their ideology is so freakin wacked. In my eyes, there hasn't been a reasonable policy made by them in a LONG time. So I question them; I question their thinking process, I question their motives. . . for every decision. They completely lost my trust.

    So now they care about parental rights. Well, they should put some meat to their "caring". Write a bill that is more inclusive. Why not have it worded as I proposed??

    Steph. . . it's going to take a LOOOOONG time for me to even begin to think about trusting the Republican Party again. Their ideology is so extreme it's dangerous. So I question this bill. And I will question EVERY bill they bring forth because they earned such a distrustful reputation in my books.

    I certainly do NOT trust the Republican Party to make laws regarding family matters. Their sense of God and religion, family, freedom to make decisions, caring, and . . . heck. . . even patriotism scare me.

    Ted
    So my dear you are polarized then.

    The school doesn't use a bus of course but the school nurse has made arrangements for a girl to get an abortion in a town 70 miles away and arranged a ride for her during school hours. Without parental knowledge. And if the girl is in a car accident? Is that not a lawsuit waiting to happen?

    And you just described Marla when you said if a girl had parents with less than a reasonable belief system . .actually you described me. My children know their Dad and I are pro-life. They also know we would not beat the living daylights out of them if a pregnancy happened. You cannot equate pro-life with child abuse. We aren't monsters my dear - really. We love our kids and are pro-life. Amazing, huh?

    But back to the Devil's Advocate . . . . you can't play if you can't give me examples of procedures that need to be added into the language besides abortion. What other procedures, Devil's Advocate-wise, need to be added? The only other surgical procedure I can think of is the one I mentioned and that is plastic surgery. BUT parents are all for getting their daughter a boob job for their 16 birthday so we don't really need to worry about teen girls getting the daylights beaten out of them for breast enhancement.

    Love ya!

    steph
  14. by   Ted
    Steph. . . I've since edited my previous post. I should probably write my posts using the Microsoft Word program FIRST before sending them out. I have a horrible habit of editing, re-editing and re-editing my posts before I'm finally finished with them.

    But you're probably right. . . I guess I am "polarized" when it comes to the political ideologies currently in power.

    And you just described Marla when you said if a girl had parents with less than a reasonable belief system . .actually you described me. My children know their Dad and I are pro-life. They also know we would not beat the living daylights out of them if a pregnancy happened. You cannot equate pro-life with child abuse. We aren't monsters my dear - really. We love our kids and are pro-life. Amazing, huh?
    Steph. . .

    Believe it or not, I do not think that people who are Pro-Life are "unreasonable". In many ways, I'm pro-life myself. Without getting into my entire belief system I share to you that I deeply value life. My posting history on this bulletin board gives evidence to this. I also appreciate and respect the woman's right to choose. But what might be confusing for some is that I do not see a problem in appreciating and respecting both issues. In fact, in my mind, an argument can be made that they are two seperate issues entirely. For many reasons, though, the buttom line for me is that government need not and should not intervene with the abortion issue. One reason why the government should keep out of these issues (the government, at present, should keep out of the whole "family" issue) is because it's current thinking process is too freakin' black and white; too "us and them"; too "our way or no way".

    Oh well. . . I'm rambling. . .

    Love you too, Steph. . . Please know that I most certainly do NOT think you as unreasonable. :kiss

    Ted
    Last edit by Ted on Apr 28, '05

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