As the United States Senate considers amendments to the Budget today and tomorrow, U.S. Senators are expected to offer at least three pro-life amendments. These amendments express the “Sense of the Senate”—that is, they call on Congress to enact legislation. If the amendments are adopted, Congress will still need to vote on the underlying legislation before it is presented to the President for signature. The three expected amendments are the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Children Act, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, and the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.
D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Children Act
This amendment calls on Congress to prohibit abortions in the District of Columbia beginning at 20 weeks after fertilization, protecting both the unborn child and his or her mother. Abortion is currently legal in the District of Columbia for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.
Abortion not only kills an innocent child, but also poses significant physical and psychological risks to the child’s mother. By prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, the District of Columbia will both safeguard unborn children, and take an important and necessary step toward protecting the health and safety of women from the dangers inherent in abortion, particularly late-term abortions.
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA)
This amendment calls on Congress to require abortion providers in states where minors do not reside to comply with the parental involvement laws in the minors’ home states. CIANA would prohibit knowingly transporting a minor across a state lines for an abortion in order to evade the parental involvement law in the minor’s home state, as well as require abortion providers to notify parents at least 24 hours before performing an abortion on an out-of-state minor.
The purposes behind such parental involvement requirements are clear—to protect minors and defend parental rights. Abortion poses multiple risks to a girl’s health, and the medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abortion are often serious and can be lasting. Parents usually possess information essential to a physician’s exercise of his or her best medical judgment concerning the minor, and parents who are aware that their daughter has had an abortion may better ensure the best post-abortion medical attention. Parental consent often is required for tattoos, ear piercing, and even providing aspirin. At a minimum, parents should be notified if their daughter is seeking an abortion and have the opportunity to counsel their daughter on all of her options, including the life-affirming decision to give birth.
Further, parental involvement laws protect weak and vulnerable teens from sexual exploitation. It is obviously easier for child predators to use abortion to cover up criminal behavior in states without parental involvement laws.
Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
This amendment calls on Congress to pass S. 138, the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), which would prohibit sex discrimination against an unborn child by proscribing the killing of the child based on his or her sex. Importantly, given that baby girls are the predominant targets of sex-selection abortions, the passage of PRENDA is vital to prevent gender-based violence and to ensure that all women are treated with respect and dignity.
In 2011, in her book, Unnatural Selection, author Mara Hvistendahl reported that 163 million girls are missing in the world because of sex-selection abortions. The problem is so severe in some countries that, in 2005, the United Nations Population Fund termed the practice “female infanticide.”