by Steven Ertelt
September 5, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Congress returned from its August recess on Tuesday and one of the first battles it will confront is the issue of abortion. Though the House and Senate both approved a bill preventing the taking of teenagers to another state for a secret abortion, pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate kept the bill from going to the president.
The House and the Senate approved different versions of the Child Custody Protection Act and a final version must be crafted so it can go to President Bush, who has vowed to sign the measure into law.
In the House, lawmakers approved a provision requiring abortion practitioners to notify parents when a teen from another state comes to them for an abortion. That provision is not found in the Senate bill, which has exclusive language making sure fathers who commit incest can’t take their daughters for secret out-of-state abortions.
After the Senate vote on its bill, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called for a vote to convene a conference committee to hash out the final version of the bill. Sen. Dick Durbin, an abortion advocate who is the number two Democrat in the Senate, objected.
After that, the Democratic caucus objected to the effort to get the bill to the president despite requests from Frist and pro-life groups to lift the hold on the bill.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of National Right to Life, tells LifeNews.com that the bill would have been signed into law by now had Senate Democrats not blocked it. All but one of the members of the Democratic Party in the Senate back legal abortion.
"The Senate Democratic leadership is the only thing blocking the parental notification legislation from going to President Bush for his signature," he said.
Johnson encouraged pro-life advocates to renew their efforts to contact their senators and urge them to move the bill forward.
"Every pro-life citizen should be asking his or senators what they are doing to get this legislation to the President this month," he said.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid needs to worry less about pro-abortion activist groups and more about the views of the American public.
"Senator Reid’s efforts are an attempt to appease pro-abortion forces months before an election while blocking legislation that is supported by a large majority of legislators and Americans in general," Perkins said in comments LifeNews.com received.
"By blocking Congress from moving forward Sen. Reid is holding vulnerable teens hostage to those who would do them harm," Perkins added.
According to Perkins Frist says he has enough votes to move the bill forward but pro-life groups aren’t sure if Frist will call for a vote. Perkins encouraged the Tennessee lawmaker, who is stepping down from Congress and may be a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, to do so.
"It would be a tremendous legacy for Senator Frist if one of his last acts in Congress were getting this important legislation passed," Perkins said.
ACTION: Click here to find contact information for your senators.