Teen Endangerment Act Stalled in Congress
Senators Rally to Stop Law that Undermines Teens' Health and Safety
WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today applauds key Senators who voted to defeat the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), more accurately described as the Teen Endangerment Act, a law that jeopardizes the health and safety of teens across the nation. CIANA, which has not had a hearing or committee action in the Senate, would have criminalized doctors and trusted adults who try to help teens seek safe, legal abortion services. Eleventh-hour attempts to put the bill on the floor were clearly political in nature.
“I thank our friends in Congress for keeping this dangerous law from reaching the President's desk. This law is the wrong solution — it only serves to create barriers for teens seeking needed health care," said PPFA President Cecile Richards.
CIANA is an inappropriate federal intrusion into family decision-making that would criminalize grandmothers, aunts, sisters, other close family members, and doctors who help young women to access the health care they need. Among its provisions, the bill makes it a federal crime for any person other than a parent to assist a minor to cross state lines to access abortion services unless the minor has complied with the parental notification or consent laws of her home state. CIANA will also criminalize doctors who perform an abortion on a minor who is a resident of another state unless he or she notifies the minor’s parent a minimum of 24 hours before the procedure. The bill also trumps laws in 24 states, rather than respecting the principle of federalism that allows states to make their own policy judgments within their borders.
Planned Parenthood strongly encourages teens to talk with their parents about sexual health issues, including abortion, and research shows that most parents are involved. 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 puts our daughters in the position of delaying the medical care they need.