Senate to Debate Parental Notification on Abortion Friday, May Vote Next Week

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 21, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate to Debate Parental Notification on Abortion Friday, May Vote Next Week

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 21, 2006

Washington, DC ( — With a monumental debate and vote on embryonic stem cell research behind them, the Senate is scheduled to begin debate Friday on a bill that would help uphold parental notification and consent statutes in dozens of states across the nation.

The House has repeatedly approved the Child Custody Protection Act, which makes it a crime to take a teenager to another state for a secret abortion that violates the parental involvement laws of the girl’s home state.

However, the Senate has never voted for the bill because pro-abortion lawmakers, mostly Democrats, have held it up.

The last time the Senate attempted to vote on the measure, in 1998, pro-life lawmakers fell a handful of votes short of the 60 they needed to stop debate and vote.

On Thursday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced the Senate would debate the measure on Friday but not hold a vote and that the chamber may vote on the bill next week.

That is, if an agreement between Senate Republicans and Democrats can be worked out on the amount of time for the debate and what amendments, if any, can be proposed.

Pro-life lawmakers want to limit taking a girl out of state to have an abortion to her parents or legal guardian, but abortion advocates want to let others coordinate secret abortions. They plan an amendment allowing clergy to take teens for out-of-state abortions and possibly others allowing more distant relatives to do so as well.

A letter earlier int he week from a leading pro-life group accused Senate Democrats of holding up the bill and said a cloture vote would likely be needed again to end debate.

According to a letter to senators from the National Right to Life Committee obtained by, "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.

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.

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.”

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:
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