Scott Tibbs
Published in Hoosier Review, 04-20-02

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House acts correctly in protecting parental rights

On April 17th, the House of Representatives voted 260 to 161 to pass HR 476, the Child Custody Protection Act, according to the Washington Post. The bill makes it illegal for an adult in a state with parental notification laws to take a minor across state lines where no such law exists for the purposes of procuring an abortion for a minor.

The Left is in a predictable snit over this. But passing the bill was the right thing to do for America's parents. So long as they are not abusive, parents should have the right to raise their child in the way they believe is correct. Parents are in the best position to know the state of their daughter's physical, emotional and mental health. Another adult should not have the ability to violate those parents' rights and act as an interloper to the parent-child bond.

One argument by the Left against the CCPA is that some teens are afraid to talk to their parents due to abuse by her parents. But should all parents' rights be circumvented because of the crimes of a few? In America, we don't take away rights from all people because some of them might abuse those rights in violation of the law.

People for the American Way claimed in an e-mail alert that the CCPA is "unconstitutional" because it forces states to abide by the laws of another state. But Article IV, section I of the U.S. Constitution requires that "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof." The Constitution clearly allows Congress to ensure that states abide by the "full faith and credit" clause, and the CCPA is simply a mechanism to enforce that constitutional provision.

The New York Times argued in an April 19th editorial that Republican supporters of the act are not being consistent with their principles of federalism and state sovereignty. But this is a clear case where Congress does have the constitutional authority to intervene with federal legislation under Section IV. Supporting state sovereignty does not mean that one abandons all of the very limited constitutionally permissible powers of the federal government.

Furthermore, teens do not have unfettered access to all rights given to adults. Legal precedent and principle is clear here. Teens cannot enter into contracts, vote, work in certain occupations, or consume alcohol or tobacco. Statutory rape laws make sexual contact between minors and adults illegal. (In fact, according to the July 1995 issue of Lancet, most teenage pregnancies involve an older man.) In many cases, a teenage girl cannot get her ears pierced or be given an aspirin at school without her parents' consent. Why should abortion be any different? What makes abortion so special that teens should have rights here that they don't in other areas? Could it be that abortion-rights supporters fear giving any ground to even the most reasonable restrictions on abortion for fear that those restrictions could lay the groundwork for a ban on the procedure?

It is no surprise that abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood oppose this legislation given the profits they reap from the procedure. In fact, the Family Research Council Web site reports that "abortion facilities in states without parental involvement laws even advertise in the phone books of neighboring cities located across the state line with ads touting secret abortions." The National Right to Life Committee Web site also reports this fact.

As many pro-life organizations have noted, the CCPA serves to protect teenage girls who have been impregnated by older men. The American Journal of Public Health, vol. 86, no. 4 (April 1996) reports that two thirds of teenage pregnancies involve older fathers, whose median age is 22 years old. With CCPA, these men will be legally prohibited from covering up their crime of statutory rape by taking their teenage lover across state lines to kill her baby if she lives in a state with a parental involvement law.

This law shouldn't be a matter of debate. Instead, it should be a common-sense measure both sides of the abortion issue can agree on. But the pro-abortion fringe has not shown any common sense in this matter whatsoever. Hoosier voters should contact Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar and encourage them to pressure Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) and the Senate leadership to allow a vote on the CCPA.