Rubio, Hatch Take Up Parental Notification for Abortion

Elisabeth Meinecke

6/28/2011 12:01:00 AM - Elisabeth Meinecke
First-year Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah last week introduced a bill protecting parental notification laws on minors traveling out of state to obtain abortions.

Rubio, who received the National Right to Life endorsement during his run for the Senate, told Townhall he had been looking to get involved on the issue and that he's been a longtime supporter of parental notification regarding abortion.

"The vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the notion that in order to get a tattoo, or in order to get a piercing, a girl has to have [her] parents' permission, but not in order to get an abortion," Rubio said.

The bill cracks down on taking a minor out of state for an abortion to avoid parental notification in the home state. It also forces abortion providers to notify the parent of an out-of-state client who is a minor.

Violating the legislation could result in fines or jail time, and those subjected to penalties would include the doctors performing the abortions and the people who took the minor across state lines.

The bill earned the praise of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, with the organization's president calling it "commonsense legislation."

"Undercover videos have shown that young girls are not safe in abortion clinics. If this bill becomes law, it will be a blow to predators and those that enable them in the abortion industry, and a victory for vulnerable girls and their parents across the country,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement. "The pro-life movement commends Senators Rubio and Hatch for introducing this commonsense legislation aimed at protecting young girls and the rights of parents."

There will be an exception within the legislation for cases of medical emergency, abuse or neglect, which Rubio says, however, mirrors those loopholes allowed at the state levels. He pointed out that even those espousing a pro-choice stance often agree with parental notification laws. A 2006 Gallup report showed support for parental consent of abortions has remained near 70 percent since Gallup's first polling of the issue in 1992.

As of last week, the bill had 29 GOP co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Rubio said he will also reach out to Democrat colleagues who have supported the issue in the past. Previous Democrat supports of federal parental notification legislation included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.