Reform Jewish Movement Condemns House Passage of the So-Called "Child Custody Protection Act"
Yesterday, the House passed the so-called "Child Custody Protection Act" by a vote of 277-150. The following statement was issued by Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center. For additional information about this issue, please contact Adeena Colbert at 202-387-2800 or email@example.com
Pelavin: "Today, in a chimerical attempt to legislate family relationships, the House has voted to endanger the lives of young women across the nation."
WASHINGTON, July 15, 1998 -- In response to the House action today approving the so-called "Child Custody Protection Act," which would impose federal criminal penalties on any person who takes a young woman across state lines to obtain an abortion if she does not first comply with her home state's parental involvement law, Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The Reform Jewish movement agrees that parents should be involved in their teenager's decision to have an abortion-and in the majority of cases they are. According to an Alan Guttmacher Institute study of states without parental involvement laws, 61% of parents knew about their teen's decision to have an abortion. Of those teens who did consult with their parents about their abortion, almost one-third believed they would risk physical harm if they did so. The proposed bill takes away safe alternatives to parental involvement -- such as turning to other relatives or close family friends -- and replaces them with life-endangering ones, like hitchhiking, self-inducing, or seeking out back-alley abortions.
Good communication between parents and children is important, but not at the expense of a young woman's life. The government cannot mandate family communication where it does not already exist. Today, in a chimerical attempt to legislate family relationships, the House has voted to endanger the lives of young women across the nation. This misguided legislation now goes to the Senate and we strongly urge members of the Senate to protect the well-being of our daughters, sisters, nieces, and grandchildren by voting against the so-called "Child Custody Protection Act."
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 875 congregations throughout North America.