The House Judiciary Committee Approves Teen Abortion Bill
The House Judiciary Committee voted 16-13 to approve legislation that curtails a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. The measure states that "anyone who takes a pregnant teenager to another state without a parent's knowledge for an abortion could face federal prosecution."
The bill would make it illegal for a person other than the girl's parent or guardian to take her out of state to have an abortion if the home state has parental involvement laws. Punishment for violating this law includes a maximum of one year in jail, $100,000 in fines, and parents of the girl can file a civil lawsuit.
Democrats, who oppose the measure, say the bill will force many teenagers to seek back-alley abortions if they cannot confront their parents because of abuse or for other reasons, and that this law is attempting to curtail "a woman's constitutional right to an abortion." Senator Maxine Waters passionately noted that "This committee...has consistently today resisted any opportunity for a woman, under the most extreme condition, to exercise freedom of choice."
The bill will go in front of the House as early as next week. Similar legislation is being presented in the Senate.
Media Resources: AP and Nando Times - June 23, 1999