It's pretty much a worst-case scenario: A teenage girl is pregnant and can't talk to her family about it. Maybe her father or stepfather is violent and abusive. Maybe she knows she'll get kicked out of the house. Maybe the pregnancy is the result of incest. She can't get an abortion without parental permission in her state (as is the case in 43 states). Desperate for help, she turns to her aunt, her adult sister, her school counselor or a friend's mother.
But if a new bill becomes law, any of those caring adults would face criminal persecution for helping the teenager arrange an abortion across state lines. Doctors who perform the procedure could also face criminal charges. The bill, called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act by its supporters and the Teen Endangerment Act by choice advocates, is dangerous and almost impossibly complex. It has no exceptions for abortions necessary to protect the teenager's health. And it can't create constructive, open family communication where none exists. (Studies have shown that more than half of all pregnant teens do talk to their parents about the pregnancy and their desire for an abortion—even in states without parental notification laws.) Instead, the act just endangers already-vulnerable girls.
The House will likely vote on the act on Wed., April 27. Take action with NARAL Pro-Choice America and tell your representatives to vote against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and instead focus on preventing teen pregnancy in the first place—with comprehensive sex ed and reliable emergency contraception.
| Monday 2:54 PM