Jail for Abetting an Abortion

Monday, November 19, 2007

In his Nov. 8 op-ed column, "A Major Abortion Blunder," Robert D. Novak wrote: "No serious antiabortion legislation ever has included criminal penalties against women who have abortions, much less their parents. Jailing women is a spurious issue raised by abortion rights activists."

But the proposed federal Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act states that "whoever knowingly transports a minor across a State line, with the intent that such minor obtain an abortion, and thereby in fact abridges the right of a parent under a law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision" can be imprisoned or fined.

True, the minor's mother or father would not be jailed. However, the minor's aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, minister, doctor, teacher, counselor, godparent or other trusted adult could be sent to jail. There is also no exception for other young adults who violate the law, such as the pregnant minor's siblings, cousins or friends.

The proposed law would undoubtedly result in "jailing women" and men, potentially by the thousands. There's nothing spurious about making that fact known. The law would be ridiculous if it weren't so horrifying in its scope.

KATHERINE G. MINARIK

Chicago


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