Protecting Girls from Predators
I have learned lessons about the value of all life from my children and I pray that I continue to learn them. I grieve for the children lost and for the mothers who have been deceived by a society selling selfishness. I am thankful for the faithful workers around the country who serve women at pro-life pregnancy centers providing women honest information and additional real choices.
I have often said that policymakers cannot just "check the box" by saying they are pro-life. It is about making a commitment to it whenever the dignity of life is threatened. That is why I feel so strongly that The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), a bill that would make it illegal to transport a minor girl across state lines for an abortion, must pass Congress and be signed into law.
If passed, the law would strengthen the over 30 state-level pro-life parental-involvement laws currently on the books by ending the circumvention of state laws regarding parental involvement and punishing doctors who knowingly perform an abortion on a minor, and any individual who has helped her travel across state lines.
So say you are the friend of a young girl who is seeking an abortion, but she does not have the support or approval of a parent to have one performed. All you would need to do is go to a state where parental approval is not required. Currently there are at least a dozen states with abortion providers, making such an abortion accessible.
Sadly, opponents of the legislation—mainly the mainstream media and pro-choice pundits—have distorted the purpose and need for this commonsensical measure.
The New York Times opined that the bill was an attack on women and federalism. We should remind the NYT that legislation that protects girls is not an attack on women. We should also remind them that legislation that protects minor citizens of one state against potential abuses occurring in another state with the clear intent to avoid the protections of the state where the minor lives is not an attack on federalism.
Moreover, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justices O'Connor, Souter, and Kennedy concluded that it was a reasonable assumption that minors would benefit from the consultation of their parents. The Court highlighted that parental involvement reduces sexual exploitation of minors and enhances the detail of their medical history. Furthermore, scientific research indicates that parental involvement in decisions related to abortion reduces suicide rates in teenage females. Perhaps most importantly, parental involvement reduces the number of abortions—which people from all parts of the political spectrum support.
Such hyperbole is unsurprising coming from the Times, but is not reflective of the views of a majority of Americans who believe strongly that parents need to be involved in such tragic decisions.
A Gallup poll from last summer found that 71 percent of Americans favor a law requiring women under 18 to get parental consent for any abortion. This would certainly seem to include those abortions performed on minors whether they crossed state lines or not.
CIANA is a pro-life bill that protects the rights of parents. As Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the bill's chief sponsor since 2005, has noted, "Parents have the right to be involved in their children's lives. More than 30 states have enshrined this sacred responsibility by passing parental consent and notification laws. Minors should not be ferried across state lines by those who would wish to disregard state laws and any parents their rights."
I stand with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and with all those who are fighting to uphold the sanctity of innocent human life.
I believe that all life is precious, from the unborn, to the disabled, and the aging. Ultimately, I won't be satisfied until the day Roe v. Wade is overturned, so that the rights of every unborn child are protected in the womb.
There will always be some who try to make this issue about taking rights away—infringing on women's rights—but we know it is really about protecting rights that already exist.
In the end, supporting a culture of life and protecting parental rights can only help the family and therefore make America a better place.
Follow the moral and religious dimensions in current events on the Patheos News and Politics Channel.
Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, ran as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He is the founder of Patriot Voices, an organization to mobilize one million conservatives committed to promoting faith, family, freedom, and opportunity.