NAF Urges Representatives in the House to Vote Against the Teen Endangerment Act

Here is the press release we issued today on the Teen Endangerment Act

    Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a federal parental notification law that combines the Child Custody Protection Act, which was passed by the U.S. Senate this past summer, with provisions substantially similar to the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives last year. This callous legislation, more aptly called The Teen Endangerment Act, could endanger teens and violate their constitutional rights. Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, released the following statement condemning this harmful legislation:

    In most instances, parents know about a teenage daughter’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. However, the government cannot legislate good family communications, and parental involvement may not be a realistic option for teens who come from homes that are emotionally or physically abusive, or for those who are victims of rape or incest.

    In many cases where a teen is not comfortable involving her parent, she reaches out to trusted aunts, sisters, grandmothers, or other friends as a resource. However, the Teen Endangerment Act effectively removes this alternative and prohibits anyone except a parent from taking a minor across certain state lines for an abortion if the teen has not already met her home state’s parental involvement requirements. As a result, a teen may be compelled to pursue drastic alternatives in order to avoid involving her parents, or she may encounter dangerous delays as she attempts to navigate the legal system and obtain a judicial bypass.

    The Teen Endangerment Act also contains onerous notification requirements that place an unprecedented burden on health care providers. Its requirements operate differently depending on the laws of the teen’s home state, and compliance with this provision essentially would require doctors to become experts on every U.S. state’s abortion laws. In addition, teens may be forced to comply with two different state’s laws; in other situations, some teens may not even have the option of seeking a judicial bypass in lieu of informing their parents.

    The Teen Endangerment Act threatens the welfare of young women by isolating them from trusted adults and creating delays and burdens that could endanger young women’s health. Further, it places burdensome restrictions on doctors, and puts them at risk for criminal and civil liability. On behalf of health care providers, and the teens for whom they care, we are urging Representatives to oppose this dangerous legislation.

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