Don't Criminalize Actions of Caring Relatives and Friends

Anti-choice activists and legislators have broadened their attack on reproductive rights in recent years by trying to eliminate support networks for young women facing unintended pregnancies.

 

Anti-choice activists and legislators have broadened their attack on reproductive rights in recent years by trying to eliminate support networks for young women facing unintended pregnancies.

Several Members of Congress want to make it a federal crime for anyone other than a parent -- including a grandmother, aunt or older sister -- to help a teenager who lives in a state with a law restricting minors' access to abortion to go to another state to obtain an abortion if she has not already fulfilled her home state's law.

This proposal would not help young women deal with the difficult circumstances of an unintended pregnancy. Instead, it would deny already vulnerable teens the assistance of trusted adults, endanger their health and violate their constitutional rights.

Take Action! Urge your Members of Congress to oppose efforts that would harm young women!

Action Alerts: Star Bullet This effort would criminalize compassion.
If adopted, this measure would impose federal criminal penalties on any person other than a parent (including emergency medical personnel) who "transports" a young woman across state lines to obtain an abortion even if the young woman's health would be seriously harmed if medical care were delayed to allow her to comply with her state's teen abortion law. In short, it criminalizes caring, responsible behavior on the part of adults concerned with a young woman's well-being.

Action Alerts: Star Bullet It would isolate the most vulnerable teens.
Many teenagers who live in states that restrict minors' access to abortion cannot satisfy their home state's law because they cannot tell a parent (or in some states, both parents) about a pregnancy, and in some areas going to court and obtaining a judicial waiver is not a real alternative. Proposed changes would essentially force these young women to travel alone across state lines to obtain an abortion and deny them support as they travel home after surgery.

Action Alerts: Star Bullet This proposal would not create good family communication where it does not already exists.
Family communication simply cannot be legislated. While studies have found that a majority of young women who are pregnant and seeking an abortion already choose to involve a parent in their decision, others have very valid reasons for not doing so. One third of teenagers who do not tell their parents about a pregnancy have already been the victims of family violence -- physical, emotional, and sexual abuse -- and fear it will recur.

Action Alerts: Star Bullet This proposal is unconstitutional.
The measure would violate core constitutional principles -- the right of each person to travel freely from state to state and the right of each state to enforce its own laws within its boundaries. It also fails to include a constitutionally required health exception.