House Passes Teen Endangerment Act
Intrusive Law Puts Teens’ Health and Safety at Risk
WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) denounced the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage today of the deceptively titled Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), more accurately described as the Teen Endangerment Act, which jeopardizes the health and safety of teens across the nation. Instead of addressing pressing national issues, such as port security, tax breaks for the middle class and funding for critical social services, the House used precious floor time in the weeks before Election Day to revisit this dangerous law, despite having already passed a very similar measure in April 2005.
“Rather than focusing on important congressional business, the House is instead focused on a dangerous piece of legislation that it has previously passed,” said PPFA Vice President for Public Policy Stephenie Foster. “We all want our daughters to come to us when dealing with an unintended pregnancy, but what’s most important is for them to be safe. If a teen cannot go to her parent, she should be encouraged to turn to another trusted adult for support, instead of being deterred. Congress should stop playing politics with abortion and focus on real measures to keep teens safe and healthy, such as medically accurate sex education and comprehensive prevention measures — not intrusive laws that jeopardize teens’ health.”
CIANA is an inappropriate federal intrusion in family decision making that would criminalize close family members who help young women to access the health care they need. The law would also make it a federal crime for a doctor to perform an abortion on a minor who is a resident of another state, unless she or he notifies the minor’s parent a minimum of 24 hours before the procedure.
Planned Parenthood strongly encourages teens to talk with their parents about reproductive health issues, including abortion, and research shows that most parents are involved in their daughters’ abortion decisions. But in the real world, parental involvement is not an option for every young woman, especially if she lives in an abusive environment or is pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Teens’ health and safety must be the top priority, and this law would put our daughters in the position of delaying or avoiding the medical care they need.