Tags: House | Bill | Limits | Abortion | Access | for | Minors

House Bill Limits Abortion Access for Minors

Wednesday, 27 September 2006 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives easily passed legislation on Tuesday that would make it a crime to take a minor across state lines for an abortion.

The bipartisan vote was 264-153.

The House has repeatedly backed similar legislation since the late 1990s, but this year was the first time the Senate voted for a similar measure. Rather than accepting the Senate version and sending it to President Bush for his signature, the House passed a slightly modified bill of its own again.

"We expect the Senate to take this up and pass it," Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said. "This is common sense - it's supported by the American people."

With the Senate aiming to get through a crowded national security agenda this week before breaking for the November 7 congressional elections, it was far from certain that the Senate would act this week, or in the post-election "lame duck" session expected to focus on unfinished spending bills.

That would leave the legislation unfinished until at least next year, but provide political ammunition for both parties.

The House bill would make it a crime, punishable by up to a year in jail, for anyone other than a parent to take a teen-age girl across state lines for an abortion in a state without parental notification requirements.

It went further than past legislation by requiring that the doctor notify the girl's parents, even if the doctor is in a state that does not have a parental consent law.

Supporters of the bill said it was necessary to protect young women because an adult predator could impregnate a girl and then force her to have an abortion to hide the crime.

"This protects minors from exploitation from the abortion industry (and) fosters strong family ties," Ros-Lehtinen said.

She said young women should not opt for a "life altering, hazardous and potentially fatal decision without the consultation and consent of at least one parent."

Critics of the bill said some teenagers simply can't go to their parents for help, either because of poor family communication or the threat of violence. They said the girl couldn't even turn to an aunt, grandparent or member of the clergy for help in obtaining an out-of-state abortion, because they could be prosecuted under the legislation.

"It will turn back the clock not only on choice, but for privacy of young women," said California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee. She said if Congress wanted to reduce abortions, it should back comprehensive sex education and access to contraception.

© reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives easily passed legislation on Tuesday that would make it a crime to take a minor across state lines for an abortion. The bipartisan vote was 264-153. The House has repeatedly backed similar legislation since the late 1990s,...
House,Bill,Limits,Abortion,Access,for,Minors
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2006-00-27
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 12:00 AM
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