WASHINGTON (June 18, 1999) -- An official of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) has urged Congress to support the Child Custody Protection Act (H.R. 1218/S. 661). The legislation affirms the right of parents to protect their minor daughter from those who have no legal responsibility for her, and who unilaterally decide that a secret abortion is her best "option."
The House is expected to vote on the legislation before the end of June.
"The disturbing and growing practice of boyfriends or relatives transporting teenage girls across state lines to evade states' parental involvement laws on abortion is reason enough for quick passage of the Child Custody Protection Act," wrote Gail Quinn, Executive Director of the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, in a letter sent June 18 to members of the House of Representatives.
"The Act seeks to protect vulnerable teens by allowing parents to file suit in such cases to vindicate their fundamental rights and responsibilities regarding the care of their children," Ms. Quinn said. "This will help protect parental autonomy in states with parental notification or consent laws on abortion. No one else--boyfriends, in-laws, counselors, friends--can usurp this fundamental role.
"The need for protecting minors is compelling," Ms. Quinn continued. "Abortion can involve life-long emotional and physical trauma for women, particularly young girls. In such situations, the love and support of families is critical and needs to be encouraged. Parents should not be kept in the dark when the welfare of their children and their unborn grandchildren is at stake. Many states have wisely chosen to protect parents' rights in this area, and the intent of their protective laws should not be thwarted."