by Steven Ertelt
July 19, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate plans to vote on Thursday on a measure that would help uphold parental involvement laws that require notifying or getting permission from a teenager’s parents before she can have an abortion. The bill is designed to prohibit taking teens to other states for secret abortions without parental knowledge.
A leading pro-life group says Senate Democrats are holding up the bill and a vote on the legislation can’t proceed unless a cloture vote is taken to end debate.
According to a letter to senators from the National Right to Life Committee obtained by LifeNews.com, "Democratic leadership is currently obstructing the bill by refusing to agree to the motion to proceed, thereby making this cloture vote necessary."
Since a vote to defeat the cloture motion would kill the parental involvement bill, NRLC says that it will score the cloture vote as a pro-life vote in its annual scorecard.
The Child Custody Protection Act 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.
Currently, 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, 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.
The House has already approved its version of the bill, passing it by a strongly bipartisan 270-157 vote in April 2005. But Senate Democrats have blocked a vote there since then.
The House also approved its version of the bill in 1998, 1999 and 2002 but the Senate has never voted on it.
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.”
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.
In a Wednesday editorial, First said "Parents have both a right and an obligation to involve themselves in their children’s lives. Parental notification laws recognize and strengthen this involvement."
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), along with Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum. Some 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.
Related web sites:
Parental involvment abortion laws –
Sen. Bill First editorial –