Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) is taking a strong stance in opposition to proposed federal legislation that will threaten the health and safety of young Latinas seeking reproductive health care. Our new fact sheet on The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, or CIANA, (H.R. 2299, S.1214) illustrates how this harmful piece of legislation will have particularly harsh effects on young Latin@s.
CIANA provides for fines or even prison time for an individual, other than a parent or guardian, who assists a minor in traveling to another state to obtain an abortion. The law also places burdensome and unworkable restrictions on abortion care providers to comply with the law of another state.
Although the bill’s supporters claim that this legislation will protect young people, CIANA may actually place young people in complicated and dangerous situations. While many minors do involve their parents/guardians in matters of their health, what happens to the young people who live in violent domestic situations? What about a young Latina who is seeking to terminate a pregnancy that was caused by incest? What about a Latina who knows her own circumstances and concludes that a trusted aunt, family friend, or mentor may be her best sources of support and assistance during a difficult decision and experience?
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 87% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider, so traveling long distances to seek abortion care may be necessary for many. CIANA would make it even more difficult for young people to obtain needed care, while also stripping them of support.
Despite the overwhelming negative implications of CIANA, the U.S. House of Representatives is advancing this legislation, which has the support of 163 Congresspeople, most of whom are outright opponents of abortion rights. On March 23, the bill was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee, which means this notoriously anti-reproductive health Congress could be voting on the bill soon. The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) with the support of 32 co-sponsors and is sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Put simply, the federal government cannot mandate family communication or healthy family relationships. If CIANA were to pass, Latinas, who are younger than the general population and already face numerous barriers to reproductive health care, would face increased risks of physical harm and decreased access to the reproductive health services they need. NLIRH works for health, dignity, and justice for Latin@s of all ages and will continue to work to stop CIANA from hurting our young people, our families, and our communities.
Please visit the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s website today as we release a new fact sheet on CIANA, which includes an excellent scenario of how this law would play out in the life of a young Latina living in Texas.