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House Advances CIANA, Anti-Abortion Bill, Without Rape Or Incest Exceptions

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The House Judiciary Committee voted 20-13 on Tuesday to advance a bill that would make it a crime for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman outside of her home state to have an abortion. The committee rejected several proposed amendments that would have provided exceptions for victims of rape or incest, women facing threats to their health, and grandparents and older siblings trying to accompany their family members to abortion clinics.

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), imposes a prison term of up to a year for a doctor who performs an abortion on an out-of-state minor that is not accompanied by a parent. It has 158 cosponsors in the House and a companion bill in the Senate.

"This legislation is based on common-sense," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement on Monday. "Parents have the right to be involved in their children’s lives."

Opponents of the bill argue that it fails to consider the extenuating circumstances in which a teen would turn to another adult -- such her grandmother or adult sister -- for support, and could force young women to instead turn to unsafe alternatives to terminating her pregnancy.

“Today’s vote has exposed once again anti-choice lawmakers’ deep hostility to women’s rights and indifference to their health and well-being," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "While offering their usual disingenuous claims that they are acting to protect women, they have hypocritically rejected all attempts to add even the bare minimum of measures to safeguard vulnerable young women’s lives."

The bill now moves to a full vote in the House.

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