April 27, 2005


A new federal move to limit teen abortions: The House considers new out-of-state restrictions. (Linda Feldmann, 4/27/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

The abortion issue has long undergirded some of the biggest political questions of the day - from how federal judges are confirmed to whether a politician can credibly compete for the presidency. Now, with little fanfare, the House of Representatives is set to take up legislation Wednesday that would impose new restrictions on access to abortion itself, specifically, in the case of minors.

The bill, called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, or CIANA, would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion in order to evade a parental notification law, unless she has obtained a waiver from a judge. The bill would also require a doctor to notify a minor's parent before performing an abortion, if that girl is a resident of another state. The second part also contains provisions that allow a minor to get around parental notification.

In contrast with the ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions," which is not in effect as it faces continued court action, legal experts say that the new teen abortion restrictions have a much better chance of becoming the law of the land and would have broad impact. [...]

Abortion-rights advocates are caught in a bind: The bill goes to the heart of parental rights, an emotional issue particularly for social conservatives. Historically, the public has strongly supported parental involvement in decisions related to minors' abortions, as long as there is a judicial bypass procedure for girls in abusive families.

Furthermore, abortion-rights supporters are focused on preserving the right of the Senate to filibuster judicial nominees - a procedure they believe is crucial to keeping antiabortion judges out of federal courts, and, ultimately, preserving the existence of the constitutional right to abortion. [...]

As for CIANA, "this is tough legislation to argue against on its face," says Helena Silverstein, a political scientist at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and author of a forthcoming book on judicial bypasses. "The appeal of parental-involvement mandates is so strong, and this legislation appears to bolster that."

Now there's a balancing act--how do you fight to shaft parents and preserve a religious test for judges at the same time without completely repelling the citizenry?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2005 12:00 AM

Sure, let 'em have the abortions without parental consent but make sure to keep it for ear piercing, though.

Posted by: Rick T. at April 27, 2005 11:30 AM