Tim Johnson Watch

Representative Tim Johnson was elected to represent the residents of Illinois' 15th Congressional District in Central Illinois. His constituents should know what he's doing.

Location: 15th Congressional District, Illinois, United States

A concerned citizen of Central Illinois.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Tim Johnson Votes To Involve The Federal Government And Plainitff's Lawyers In Doctors' Provision Of Abortion Services

While it was a relatively slow week for legislation in Congress, Tim Johnson voted in favor of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which criminalizes transporting a minor (usually a 16 or 17 year old) to another state to obtain an abortion. Since most minors who consider abortions involve their parents in the decision voluntarily, the burden of this law will fall disproportionately on young women who are the victims of violence at home, or who fear violence or being forced to leave home.

It is obvious why those of us who support reproductive freedom should be disgusted by Mr. Johnson's support for this bill.

However, even those who oppose reproductive freedom should be given pause. The rallying cry of the anti-abortion movement used to be states' rights. Why should the federal government take a position on mandating notification? This bill requires the doctor, personally, to take responsibility for notifying the parents. Why should the federal government be inserting itself into the private doctor-patient relationship? What's worse, this bill would allow parents to sue anyone who helped their daughter obtain an abortion. It was barely a month ago that Johnson and the Republicans were arguing that "frivolous" lawsuits brought by "plainitff's lawyers" were crippling the legal and medical systems -- why is it all of a sudden a great idea to create a whole new class of civil lawsuits?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, 54 Democrats also voted for this bill. The attempt to portray Tim as some kind of partisan hack just doesn't hold water. There have been articles about Tim's independence.

This is not a unreasonable bill. How many times has a 16 or 17 year old girl been a severe victim of abuse and needed to sneak across state lines to get abortions? I'm not sure it happens that often in reality.

You have to get permission to get your wisdom teeth removed, why not an abortion? It's really not a radical idea.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Michael said...


I'm not sure what the relevance is of how 34 Democrats voted.

Even if you think parental notification laws are a good idea -- and obviously from your comment you do -- that doesn't explain why this justifies the federal government getting involved in the doctor-patient relationship or why creating new private tort plaintiffs is a good idea in these circumstances. I suspect that a lot of Tim Johnson's conservative constituents would prefer this issue to be dealt with by the states.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

So we have a law regulating interstate transport of dependent minors who are lawful residents of a state with parental notification to another without it. Presumably any such transport is for the express purpose of avoiding parental notification.

How does this interfere with a state's right to regulate its own citizens? Doesn't it support each state's laws?

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