by Steven Ertelt
July 25, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush applauded the Senate’s passage yesterday of a measure that would protect teenagers from being taken to another state for a secret abortion without their parents’ knowledge or consent. In a message the White House released on the bill, the president indicated he would sign the measure.
"Transporting minors across state lines to bypass parental consent laws regarding abortion undermines state law and jeopardizes the lives of young women," President Bush said. He called it a "dangerous practice."
The president said he supports the bill because it "penalizes those who unlawfully attempt to circumvent parental notification requirements."
"I appreciate the Senate’s efforts to preserve the integrity of state law and protect our Nation’s families," the president added. "I look forward to the House and Senate resolving their differences in Conference and sending this legislation for my signature."
Despite a strong bipartisan 65-34 vote in favor of the bill, Senate Democrats blocked it from moving ahead.
Because the Senate version of the bill is different from the one the House approved, a conference committee is required to produce a final version of the bill that Congress will send to the president.
Normally, the appointment of conferees for the committee is a routine and noncontroversial process.
However, pro-abortion Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, objected to Senate Majority Lader Bill First’s attempt to appoint members of the conference committee shortly after the Senate voted on the bill.
"I hope this is not a sign that they’re going to try to obstruct this bill," Frist said later.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said Durbin’s action was another example of Senate Democratic leaders holding up the bill — which they have prevented coming up for a vote for years.
"Fourteen Democratic senators voted to pass the bill, but only minutes later the Democratic caucus collectively moved to kill the bill by objecting to the routine, necessary step of sending the bill to a conference committee," Johnson said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"The Senate Democratic leadership is now obstructing legislation supported by 80 percent of the public, doing the bidding of the abortion lobby," Johnson explained. "They are ignoring the 80 percent of the public that believes parental notification laws protect vulnerable minors and the rights of parents."
To overcome the Democrats’ objections to getting the conference committee started, First could call for a full-fledged debate and vote on the motion and possibly have to find 60 votes to defeat a potential filibuster. However, with 65 senators backing the bill, that should be doable.