Parental Notification

 

Background: Three bills related to parental notice were introduced in Congress. Also see, Child Custody Protection Act which makes it a federal crime to transport a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion with the intent of circumventing the parental involvement law of the girl’s home state.

House: Two of these measures were introduced in the House, the Parental Notification and Intervention Act and the Parent’s Right to Know Act.

Parental Notification and Intervention Act: On March 27, 2003, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) introduced the Parental Notification and Intervention Act of 2003 (H.R. 1489). The measure had 81 cosponsors and was referred to the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary. No further action was taken. The bill made it unlawful to perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor under 18, to permit the facilities of an entity to perform an abortion on such minor, or to assist in the performance of an abortion on such minor, unless: there is clear and convincing evidence of physical abuse by the parent; there is written notification to the parents that an abortion has been requested; there is a 96-hour waiting period after the notice has been received by the parents; and there is compliance with provisions allowing any parent to seek a court injunction against the abortion. Exceptions were made for cases where a grave physical disorder or disease would cause the death of the unemancipated minor. Parental notice required the use of certified mail which is personally delivered to any parent. The term “parent” included a legal guardian.

Parent’s Right to Know Act: Title X Program: On June 12, 2003, Rep. Todd Akin (R- MO) introduced the Parent’s Right to Know Act of 2003 (H.R. 2444). The bill had 93 cosponsors and was referred to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. No further action was taken. H.R. 2444 would require parental consent or notification five business days before a minor receives a contraceptive drug or device in a federally-funded Title X family planning clinic.  H.R. 2444 also required providers to certify their compliance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Senate: A bill “to provide for parental involvement in abortions of dependent children of members of the Armed Forces.” On May 23, 2003, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced S. 1104, a measure that prohibited a physician from using military health care facilities to perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor who is a child of a member of the military, unless: the physician gives 48 hours notice, actual or constructive, to a parent or guardian; a judge authorizes the minor to consent without notice, with various conditions being specified; or the physician concludes the medical condition of the minor “necessitates the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avoid a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” and certifies these medical indications in writing. The bill had one cosponsor. S. 1104 was read twice and placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar. No further action was taken.