On Tuesday, the Senate finally passed the Child Custody Protection Act, 65–34. It had gone through the House four times already, most recently a year ago this April. Normally, that would put it on the fast track to the president’s desk to be signed. But Democratic obstruction is currently keep it from going anywhere, as Democrats refuse to let it go to conference, where the House and Senate versions of the legislation would be reconciled.
The bill, though described in many big-media outlets as just one more attempt by anti-abortion advocates to restrict women’s rights, is in fact a very common-sense measure that engenders broad support. Parental notification for abortion is wildly popular (See Gallup here for an idea), and that’s what this law would require. It would make it a federal crime for a non-parental adult to take a minor across state lines to have an abortion — i.e., from a state that requires parental notification or consent to one that doesn’t.
The New York Times Thursday morning is one of those big media outlets that are cheering on obstruction, calling the Child Custody Protection Act “mean.” The Times, along with some Senate opponents of the Act, have latched onto the idea that there should be an exception for grandmothers (some senators also want clergy exempted). They ask: What if a scared girl’s grandma wants to help her, by taking her from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to have an abortion?
Well, think about it for a second. There should be a poll, actually. How many grandmas–unless your grandma was a Margaret Sanger sister-in-arms, would march for such an exception? Better yet: Moms out there — who among you thinks that your father-in-law–or your own Pop for that matter — should be able to take your 15-year-old daughter to another state for a secret abortion? Go ahead, raise your hand.
And every dad who thinks his mother-in-law–or even his own beloved mom — should be able to take his baby girl to another state for an abortion without his or his wife’s knowledge, raise your hand.
I didn’t think there would be many takers.
The New York Times today also argues — as some did on the Senate floor earlier this week–that the Child Custody Protection Act is unnecessary, that in the case of nightmare scenarios where an adult male is involved with a child and takes her for an abortion out of state, statutory rape laws already on the books will get him. Uh, duh. Odds are, he knows that better than anyone. Which is why he’s off with the minor to get the baby taken care of.
As Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee points out to NRO this morning, “The male predator is indeed at risk of prosecution for statutory rape. That is why he wants to take his minor victim, whom he psychologically dominates, to another state for an abortion, thereby avoiding the revelation of his crime triggered by the legally mandated parental notification.”
As my friend Serrin Foster, head of Feminists for Life, put it in a press release yesterday, “Girls deserve better.” And so do their moms and dads.
– Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.