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Pro-abortion groups lobbied strong opposition to a US Senate proposal that would protect girls from adult sexual predators, who can presently take girls across state lines to obtain abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing [3Jun] on the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 851).

The bill, sponsored by John Ensign (R-NV), simply seeks to help states enforce their own laws, while also helping to make sure that a girl’s parents are involved in deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy – a traumatic situation that requires parental involvement.

“Few issues bring out emotion like abortion but there are many issues where we can agree and this should be one of them.”

The chairman of the committee, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), concurred, saying, “This is the type of legislation that even some pro-choice advocates agree with.

Dr. Bruce A. Lucero, a former abortionist from Alabama, has performed 45,000 abortions. He supports this legislation. In a New York Times op-ed, he wrote that ‘dangerous complications’ are more likely to result when parents are not involved in out-of-state abortions.”

Nevertheless, pro-abortion groups came out in opposition to the bill. The Center for Reproductive Rights oppose the bill because it ignores “the fact that some young women cannot involve their parents in their abortion decision.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): “The bill saddles a young woman with laws of her home state no matter where she travels in the nation,” [press release].

Testifying on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest, told the committee her story of driving a 15-year-old girl to get an abortion so she would not have to take a city bus. Ragsdale said that regardless of the law, she would continue to transport girls for abortions – across state lines if necessary – claiming that it was an obligation of her ministry. “I took vows,” Ragsdale said.

Ragsdale said she used the time in the car to help counsel the girl. She did not say if she had inquired whether an adult had impregnated her, or why her parents could not be involved.

The committee heard testimony about how the current situation has been used by adult sexual predators. In 1995, a 12-year old girl was raped and impregnated by a 19-year old man. A few months later the mother of the rapist took the terrified girl from her PA home to New York State for an abortion.

Joyce Farley, the girl’s mother, recalled the traumatic experience of discovering that her daughter was missing. “An investigationÂ… revealed the possibility that [she] had been transported out of state for an abortion. I can’t begin to tell you the fear that enveloped me not knowing where my daughter was, who she was with, if she was in harm’s way, and to learn in this manner that my young daughter was pregnant.”

[CULTURE & COSMOS, 8Jun04, V 1, No 44 Culture of Life Fdn. (202)289-2500]