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JUNE 30, 1999  2:37 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Planned Parenthood
Sandra Jordan, 202-973-6395
Adrienne Verrilli, 202-973-6397
Planned Parenthood Statement on House Passage of HR 1218, The So-Called Child Custody Protection Act
 
WASHINGTON - June 30 - Following is a statement by Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1218, the so-called Child Custody Protection Act, 270-159. Under the guise of protecting young women, the bill would curtail women's access to legal abortion even as it would attempt to legislate forced communication among families.

Planned Parenthood encourages young women to involve their parents when they face an unintended pregnancy and are considering an abortion. Most do so, even when not required by law. Yet, not every family is a model family. Minors who are victims of abuse or incest do not tell their parents, and will not, even if Congress tells them to.

This legislation would make it a federal crime to transport or assist a minor across state lines for an abortion unless the parental consent requirement of her home state had been met. Persons convicted would be subject to imprisonment, fines, and civil suits.

If passed and enacted, this bill will isolate a minor from family members, friends, and other responsible adults at a time when she most needs someone to turn to. Fear of prosecution would deter responsible, caring adults from helping a minor in a difficult situation. This seriously obstructs the ability of young woman to obtain safe and legal abortions, and puts them and any responsible adults who attempt to assist them at additional risk when they exercise their constitutional right to do so.

The anti-choice leadership of the House Rules Committee decided yesterday not to allow any amendments to be offered to this harmful legislation. Some of the amendments rejected by the Rules Committee were:

-- An exception to allow grandmothers, grandfathers, and members of the clergy to accompany the young woman.

-- An exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or if the health of the minor is at risk.

Legislators are stampeding over the rights of the young in a cruel effort to deny women reproductive freedom. If Congress really wants to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, they would support comprehensive sex education for minors and family planning for all.

They would not impose artificial and dangerous barriers to safe abortion.

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