Anyone who helps a girl cross a state line to get an abortion without telling her parents would face prosecution under a bill before the U-S Senate today (Tuesday).
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley supports the measure and expects it to pass. “We’ve had instances of individuals taking people under 18 years of age that are pregnant, want an abortion, can’t get an abortion in their own state because they don’t want to tell a parent, so some friend or some organization is going to take them across the border to get an abortion in another state,” Grassley says.
Grassley, a Republican, likens the act to kidnapping. “In the 1930s we passed the Mann Act because it’s illegal to kidnap somebody and take them across the state line. That’s a criminal offense,” he says.
Grassley says the “destruction of life in the womb” against a state law without a parent’s consent should also be illegal. A survey finds nearly three-quarters of Americans questioned say a parent should have the right to give consent before a girl under 18 gets an abortion.
Grassley says this legislation is not a matter of being for or against abortion. “It’s not a question of destruction of life, it’s a question of parents knowing what’s going on with their children and not having a third party intervene between mom and dad and the young adult, then we oughta’ have some respect for that the same as we would for a female being abducted and taken across the state line for illegal purposes,” Grassley says.
A similar measure passed the House last year. Critics say the legislation eliminates alternatives for pregnant girls who have abusive parents and wrongly punishes those who try to help.