Senate Will Debate, Vote on Parental Involvement on Abortion Tuesday

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Will Debate, Vote on Parental Involvement on Abortion Tuesday Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 24, 2006

Washington, DC ( — The United States Senate finalized an agreement last week to hold a debate and a vote on Tuesday on the Child Custody Protection Act. That’s a measure that would help uphold state parental notification and consent laws that allow parents to help their teenage daughters avoid abortions.

The bill makes it a crime for anyone other than a teenage girl’s parents to take her out of state for an abortion. Boyfriends, their parents or abortion facility staff have made it a practice of taking teens to other states for secret abortions.

Currently, abortion businesses located in cities that neighbor states with parental involvement laws advertise that abortions can be done without parental knowledge.

After a short debate on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, announced the expected votes the Senate will take.

Before voting on the bill, senators will first consider a couple of amendments, including two pro-abortion amendments that would severely weaken the bill.

The first, proposed by pro-abortion Sen. Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, would allow grandparents or a member of the clergy to transport girls out of state for an abortion.

In a memo about the bill, the National Right to Life Committee says the Feinstein amendment would gut the intent of the bill.

"Among other problems, this means that anyone designated as "clergy" would be empowered to take a minor girl out of state for a secret abortion — even if he is the sexual abuser who impregnated her, even if he is the leader of a dangerous cult, and even if he is affiliated with an abortion clinic," the group said.

NRLC indicated some Internet programs offer clergy certificates in less than five minutes, making it so anyone other than a girl’s parents could qualify.

A second amendment, put forward by California Democrat and abortion advocate Barbara Boxer, would say that the bill would not apply at all to any minor who has an abortion as "a result of a pregnancy caused by an act of incest," according to NRLC.

That means that a brother or uncle who has impregnated a teenage girl can take her to another state for a secret abortion without her parents knowing.

The House has repeatedly approved the Child Custody Protection Act — most recently passing it by a strongly bipartisan 270-157 vote in April 2005. But, 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.

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.

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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