Background: The Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA) would make 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. The prohibition would not apply when the abortion is necessary to save the minor’s life. The measure would prevent the abridgement of the right of a parent secured under state law. In 1998, 1999, and 2002, this legislation passed the House but was stalled in the Senate. In 2004, hearings were held in both the House and Senate, but no further action was taken.
In 2005, an expanded version of the CCPA was introduced in the House, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). During a House hearing on CIANA, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, described CIANA as building on CCPA. In addition to the provisions of CCPA, CIANA also requires that “an abortion provider in a state without a parental involvement law notify a parent, or if necessary a legal guardian, before performing an abortion on a minor girl who is a resident of a different state.”
House: On February 10, 2005, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 748). The bill has 129 cosponsors and was referred to the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Committee: On March 3, 2005, the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on H.R. 748. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Steve Chabot noted that approximately 80% of the public favors parental notification laws; and that of the 44 states that have enacted such laws, 23 currently enforce statutes requiring the consent or notification of at least one parent or a court authorization before a young girl can obtain an abortion. Marcia Carroll, from Lancaster, PA, gave compelling testimony on how their 16-year-old daughter was taken across the state line to have an abortion in New Jersey. Once she learned what happened, she stated, “I was so devastated that this could have been done that I called the local police department to see what could be done. They were just as shocked and surprised as I was that there was nothing that could be done in this horrible situation.”
Floor: On April 27, 2005, the House began consideration of H.R. 748. During debate, three attempts were made to weaken CIANA: two hostile amendments were offered as well as a motion to recommit with instructions.
The first amendment offered by Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) exempted certain persons from the provisions of the bill. On April 27, 2005, the House rejected the Scott amendment 179-yes, 245-no, 11-not voting (Roll Call 141). “No” was a pro-life vote.
The second amendment offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) also would exempt certain persons from the provisions of the bill. On April 27, 2005, the House rejected the Jackson-Lee amendment 177-yes, 252-no, 6-not voting (Roll Call 142). “No” was a pro-life vote.
Rep. Nadler offered a motion to recommit with instructions. On April 27, 2005, the House rejected the Nadler motion 183-yes, 245-no, 7-not voting (Roll Call 143). “No” was a pro-life vote.
Finally, on April 27, 2005, the House passed H.R. 748, 270-yes, 157-no, 8-not voting (Roll Call 144). “Yes” was a pro-life vote.
On April 28, 2005, H.R. 848 was received in the Senate but was not referred to committee or placed directly on the Senate calendar.
Senate: On January 24, 2005, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) introduced the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 8). The bill has 37 cosponsors and was referred to the Judiciary Committee. On February 16, 2005, Sen. Ensign introduced an identical bill, S. 396. It has no cosponsors and also was referred to the Judiciary Committee. On February 17, 2005, Sen. Ensign introduced a third identical bill, S. 403. This measure has 37 cosponsors and was placed directly on the Senate calendar.
Judicial: A challenge to a state parental notification law, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, is to be considered by the Supreme Court (Docket No. 04-1144). In 2003 New Hampshire enacted a parental notice law which was challenged in federal court by abortion advocates. On December 29, 2003, two days before the statute was even to take effect, U.S. District Judge Joseph A. DiClerico ruled that the state law was unconstitutional and permanently enjoined its enforcement. That ruling was appealed by the State of New Hampshire. On November 24, 2004 a three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the lower court, in part citing the lack of a "health exception."
New Hampshire appealed the circuit court ruling and on May 23, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard on November 30, 2005.