by Steven Ertelt
September 27, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The House of Representatives yesterday approved a measure designed to curb the evasion of state parental notification and consent laws. It was the second time the chamber approved such a bill this year and followed a move by Senate Democrats to block the bill from going to President Bush for his signature.
Both the House and Senate had approved differently worded bills previously, but Senate Democrats used a procedural motion to block the measures from going to a conference committee to produce a final version.
To force the Senate to act, House leaders combined their bill, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and the Senate’s measure, the Child Custody Protection Act and merged them into one bill.
The House then approved the bill on a strongly bipartisan 264-153 vote, reflecting polls showing that 80 percent of Americans back parental involvement laws on abortion.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican who was the lead sponsor, said the measure "protects minors from exploitation from the abortion industry, it promotes strong family ties and it helps foster respect for state laws."
Responding to the vote, pro-life groups called on the Senate to approve the legislation. Without a Senate vote, the bill may die and pro-life advocates may have to start all over again next year.
Lanier Swann, director of government relations for Concerned Women for America, told LifeNews.com in a statement, "We applaud the House for passing [the bill], but the protection of young pregnant girls will not be ensured until the Senate passes [it]."
“The Senate is doing the American people a huge disservice by failing to grant final passage of this protection for minor girls in crisis," Swann added. "We urge them to follow in the footsteps of the House by putting aside partisan antics and sending a strong bill to the President’s desk.”
With an election that is expected to be rough one for pro-life lawmakers, there may be fewer pro-life members of the House and Senate next year.
Congress is slated to adjourn on Friday and pro-life groups are urging phone calls asking the chamber to act on the legislation before then.
However, abortion advocates in the Senate will likely attempt to block or filibuster the bill, making it so pro-life lawmakers will need 60 votes for cloture, to stop debate, and then a majority vote on the bill itself.
The Senate approved its measure on a 65 to 34 vote in July, with several pro-abortion senators backing the pro-life measure. However, those senators may be reluctant to vote to lift the block on the bill.
"If the pro-life side fails to obtain 60 votes, the legislation will die," National Right to Life said before the House vote. "If we succeed, the bill will go the President Bush, who is eager to sign it into law."
In the House vote, 215 Republicans joined 49 Democrats to support the bill while 9 Republicans and 143 Democrats opposed it.
Abortion advocates have frequently opposed parental notification and consent requirements and Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, a trade group for abortion businesses, attacked the bill.
The CCPA bill contains the provision to make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion if it violates her home state’s parental notification or consent laws. It also contains a measure to make it a crime for a parent who raped a child to take her to another state for a secret abortion.
The bill will also contain an important provision requiring abortion practitioners to notify at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor who is a resident of a different state.
ACTION: Contact your senators and urge them to vote on the parental notification bill (S. 403). You can call them at 202-224-3121. Then, see how your member of the House voted on the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403) by going to https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll479.xml. Take a few minutes to respond to their vote. You can find contact information at https://www.house.gov/writerep or call 202-224-3121.