House Bill Imposes Harmful Restrictions on Abortion for Young Women

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“Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act” would criminalize helping teens in trouble
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(PRESS RELEASE) The Center for Reproductive Rights is calling on the House Judiciary Committee today to reject a new bill that would criminally charge anyone who helps a young women in a difficult situation and in need of abortion services outside their home state — without any consideration or exception for her life or health.

The “Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act,” or CIANA, imposes a mandatory parental notification and delay requirement on young women who seek abortion services outside of their home state. This would subject young women, abortion providers, and others who assist the women to a confusing maze of overlapping and con¬flicting state and federal laws — making it more difficult and more dangerous for young women to obtain abortions.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“We should be focused on helping teens avoid unintended pregnancies, not threatening to throw their trusted friends and family members behind bars for simply trying to help.

“While many young women do talk to their parents when considering an abortion, the reality is that some teens face abuse and abandonment. This bill would prevent young women from getting the care they need and ruin the lives of the people they turn to for help.”

CIANA fails to consider the reasons why a teen would turn to another adult like her grandmother or aunt for support, and could force young women to instead rely on an abusive caretaker, choose to travel alone or turn to unsafe alternatives to terminating her pregnancy.

Further, proposed law does not include any exception for threats to a young woman’s life or health, and imposes harsh civil and criminal liability on those who do help young women — with misdemeanor penalties that include up to a year in prison and fines of up to a $100,000. 

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.) introduced the bill last June. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.