If passed, the Child Custody Protection Act would prohibit taking a minor across state lines for an abortion in order to circumvent state laws requiring parental notification.
“It is all too common for sex predators to seek vulnerable young girls—and when a pregnancy results, abortion has been used to cover up their crime,” said FFL President Serrin M. Foster. “Without the input of a custodial adult, teens risk their health. Will a sex predator ensure she takes her antibiotic as directed after surgery?
“Teenage boyfriends are typically no more helpful,” said Foster. “Do we really believe that he will take her take her promptly to the hospital if she hemorrhages? What if she becomes septic?”
Fifteen year-old Tamia Russell died in 2004 as a result of an abortion performed in the sixth month of her pregnancy. The sister of Russell’s 24 year-old boyfriend drove her to obtain the abortion, for which her boyfriend paid. Russell’s mother was not informed before the procedure, and misinformation from the clinic led to Russell’s death from sepsis.
‘“How many teenagers have to die before we protect them and give them the resources and support they need?” Foster asked. “Teenage girls who are too afraid to tell their parents will put their health on the line when they experience complications from an abortion—and those who prey on teens know it.”
Dr. Bruce Lucero, a pro-choice advocate who performed more than 45,000 abortions, lobbied alongside Foster in support of the bill when CCPA was first introduced. “[I]n most cases,” he wrote to the New York Times in 1998, “a parent’s input is the best guarantee that a teen-ager will make a decision that is correct for her…. And it helps guarantee that if a teen-ager chooses an abortion, she will receive appropriate medical care.” Teenagers seeking abortions out of state, Lucero noted, often delay until the procedure is more expensive and riskier, and they are less likely to return to clinics for follow-up care or tell their parents they are suffering complications.
“The best interest of girls and the rights of parents are not at odds here,” Foster said. “That’s why the majority of Americans favor laws supporting parental notification, and laws prohibiting the transportation of minors across state lines by those who wish to usurp the law. The health and safety of girls across the land is at stake here,” she added. “We need the Senate to pass the Child Custody Protection Act.”
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