by Steven Ertelt
July 26, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate voted in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion on Tuesday in favor of a measure that would help uphold parental involvement laws on abortion. However, shortly after the 65-34 vote, a leading Senate Democrat objected to advancing the bill to the next step so it could be finalized and sent to President Bush for his signature.
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."
Other pro-life groups are upset as well.
The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that helps elect pro-life candidates, blamed "extremist pro-abortion Democrats" for trying to "obstruct the bill from going to conference by using procedural tactics."
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.