by Steven Ertelt
July 6, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate is planning a vote this month on three embryonic stem cell research bills, but a vote is also expected soon on legislation that would protect the right of parents to know when their minor teenage daughter is considering an abortion. The measure helps protect teenagers from being taken to other states for secret abortions.
The Senate will soon vote on the Child Custody Protection Act, a bill that would make it a federal crime to take a teen to another state for an abortion that circumvents the parental involvement laws of the girl’s home state.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 22 states have parental consent laws in effect that require a parent to sign off on a teen’s abortion before it can be done. Another seven states have notification laws in place that require abortion facilities to notify a parent of a potential abortion beforehand.
However, in a statement LifeNews.com obtained today encouraging support for the measure, NRLC says these laws "are often circumvented when minors cross state lines into neighboring states that do not have parental involvement laws."
"Indeed, some abortion clinics actively advertise in neighboring states, using avoidance of parental involvement requirements as a selling point," the pro-life group said.
Doug Johnson, the legislative director of NRCL told LifeNews.com that "at least three-quarters of the public favors parental notification or consent laws, but the abortion industry demands that it be allowed to perform secret abortions on minor girls."
Democrats have blocked a vote on the bill in the Senate before and Johnson said "The Democratic leadership in the Senate must soon reveal whether they will do the abortion industry’s bidding by trying to obstruct the bill."
The House has already approved its version of the bill, passing it by a strongly bipartisan 270-157 vote in April 2005.
It also approved a different version of the bill in 1998, 1999 and 2002. The Senate has never voted on it.
Last year, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and other leading Republicans named the bill as one of the top ten legislative priorities for the Congressional session. However, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid rejected First’s request to allow a vote on the bill without procedural obstruction by the Democrats.
President Bush strongly supports the pro-life legislation, saying the bill "would protect the health and safety of minors by ensuring that valid and constitutional State parental involvement laws are not circumvented."
The president said the bill was "consistent" with his view that "parents’ efforts to be involved in their children’s lives should be protected and the widespread belief among authorities in the field that the parents of pregnant minors are best suited to provide them with counsel, guidance, and support.”
Marcia Carroll, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, knows the dangers of taking teens to another state for a secret abortion. She shared her story with a Congressional committee in March 2005.
Carroll said the CCPA bill would have prevented the parents of her daughter’s boyfriend from taking her daughter to a New Jersey facility for an abortion without her knowledge.
Once at the abortion business, the boyfriend’s family refused to take Carroll’s daughter home to Pennsylvania until she had the abortion.
"No one should be able to circumvent state laws by performing an abortion in another state on a minor daughter without parental consent," she told the House Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Polls show Americans strongly support parental involvement laws on abortion.
In a national poll of 1,000 adults conducted in April 2005 by The Polling Company, 82 percent disagreed (including 75% who strongly disagreed and 7% who somewhat disagreed) that "a person should be able to take a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge."
Just 15 percent agreed that non-parents should be able to take teens to other states for an abortion without informing her parents.
An April 2005 Fox News Poll also found that Americans agreed by a 78-17 percentage margin that parents should be notified about a minor’s abortion. A March Quinnipiac University Poll found a 75-18 percent support for parental notification and a January 2003 CNN/Gallup poll found a 73-24 percent split in favor of parental consent.
Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, is the lead sponsor of the CCPA (S. 403), and 38 other senators have sponsored the bill as well.
ACTION: Please take a few minutes to contact your senators and encourage them to support the Child Custody Protect Act. Tell them you want parental rights protected when it comes to abortion. You can click here to find specific contact information.