Battle Over Democrat Block on Parental Involvement Abortion Bill Continues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Battle Over Democrat Block on Parental Involvement Abortion Bill Continues

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28, 2006

Washington, DC ( — The battle over a block on a Congressional bill that would help uphold parental involvement laws on abortion across the country is continuing. Both pro-life lawmakers and organizations have criticized leading Senate Democrats for blocking the bill while the Senate Republican leader says he has enough votes to move things forward.

Shortly after the Senate cast a strongly bipartisan 65-37 vote for the Child Custody Protection Act, Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat, issued a block on the bill.

Durbin objected to the appointment of members to a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the measure.

The Senate version of the bill prevents taking a teenage girl to another state for an abortion that violates her home state’s notification or consent law. The House bill does that as well but also requires abortion practitioners to notify the parents when a teen is brought to the abortion facility from out of state.

Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican who sponsored the Senate bill, told the Washington Times newspaper that the Democrats’ hold on the bill goes against the bipartisan vote for the measure.

"What the Democrats are doing is not fair, not right," adding, "There is not an issue that separates people more than the abortion issue. … We finally found some common ground. For the Democrats now to step up and block this is really outrageous."

"It is underhanded and disingenuous, and it needs to stop now," Ensign added.

National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson also blames Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid.

Johnson compares Reid to former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle "who would go back home to South Dakota and tell people he was for various pieces of legislation, then would work very skillfully to prevent those pieces of legislation from going all the way through."

Reid said in a statement that Democrats would rather see the House take up the Senate bill because they oppose the notification requirement in the House version.

"Republicans are in control of both the House and Senate. If the supporters of this legislation are concerned about delays, they should encourage [Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist] to push the House to pass the Senate-passed bill" he said.

But Kevin Madden, spokesperson for House Majority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told the Times, "We don’t want to pass a weaker bill."

Frist said at a news conference that he thinks he can get the 60 votes needed to remove the block on the bill and appoint members to the conference committee to combine the two bills. However, he said it would take several days to round up the votes and did not announce when a vote on the block would take place.

Durbin also has said he issued the block on the bill on behalf of pro-abortion California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who wants to keep Senate language that clarifies that a father who rapes his daughter takes her to another state for an abortion he can be prosecuted too.

The Senate adopted that provision on a unanimous vote before voting on the bill.

That provision would likely be retained in the final version of the bill a conference committee would produce before it is sent to President Bush. The president has said he will sign the bill as soon as it gets to him.