WASHINGTON - September 26 - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the surprise decision to schedule a last-minute vote on the so-called "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" (CIANA) a desperate political ploy that shows that anti-choice congressional leadership is out of step with Americans' priorities. This divisive and controversial anti-choice bill would virtually eliminate young women's right to choose through a crazy patchwork of rules and regulations with no exceptions to protect women's health.
The House is expected to vote on CIANA tomorrow.
"Pro-choice Americans believe that teens in trouble should talk to their parents, and thankfully, most do. However, if they can't, for whatever reason, their safety is the most important thing," Keenan said. "The American public wants teen pregnancy prevented, not punished. This bill does nothing to protect young people or promote communication between teens and their parents."
Facts on the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act:
- It would impose an impossibly complex patchwork of parental-involvement laws on women and doctors across the country, making it practically impossible for young women to access abortion care in another state. Because only 13 percent of U.S. counties have an abortion provider, for many young women the closest provider is in a neighboring state.
- It would impose criminal penalties on any adult other than a parent – including a grandparent, aunt, or religious counselor – who accompanies a young woman for abortion care in another state. This bill has no exception for teens who turn to another responsible adult because of violence at home, or in situations of rape or incest.
- Not only is the bill unconstitutional, it would impose criminal penalties on doctors who make an honest or inadvertent mistake in complying with one of the many complicated provisions.
Keenan noted that CIANA further exposes how out of touch anti-choice leaders are with the American people's priorities.
"It's clear that anti-choice congressional leaders are using divisive issues, like CIANA, to buck up sagging poll numbers and rally their far-right base to protect vulnerable incumbents. Speaker Hastert continues to refuse to hold votes on bills that would prevent teen pregnancy in the first place," Keenan said. "Congress should fund programs that provide honest, realistic sex education, teach young people about the serious responsibilities that accompany parenthood, and stop slashing budgets for after-school programs that keep kids out of trouble and on the road to success. Prevention - not punishment - is the better path for Congress to take. The best way for Americans to end this divisiveness is at the ballot box in November."