by Steven Ertelt
September 28, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The U.S. Senate could vote on a measure that would help uphold state parental notification and consent laws as early as Friday. The vote would likely be preceded by a procedural vote on whether to shut off debate and then hold a vote on the bill itself.
In a move Wednesday night that may have caught abortion advocates off guard, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist filed a cloture petition, used to call for a vote on a block or filibuster senators may use to prohibit the chamber from voting on a bill.
Senate Democrats have placed a hold for months on the Child Custody Protect Act, a measure that would stop someone from taking a teenager to another state for an abortion that violates the parental involvement laws of the girl’s home state.
That’s despite two votes in the House and one vote in the Senate in favor of the measure.
Pro-life groups are hoping the Senate will vote on cloture and on the bill before it ends its business on Friday and breaks for the October pre-election recess. If the bill doesn’t get a vote by tomorrow, it will likely die.
In a Congressional alert, National Right to Life urged pro-life advocates to call their lawmakers, especially pro-life senators and those abortion advocates who were among the 65 senators who voted for the bill in July. The group is worried that some lawmakers will make plans to head home early and miss the crucial vote.
"If a senator really believes that a parent should be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor, he or she will vote yes on S. 403," NRLC wrote in an alert LifeNews.com obtained. "If a senator wants abortionists to be able to perform abortions on girls of any age without knowledge of a parent, he or she will vote no, or skip the vote."
"Because of the procedural situation, an absence will have the same effect as a pro-abortion vote," the pro-life group noted.
In order to stop debate, pro-life lawmakers will need 60 votes, including those from pro-abortion Democrats who backed the bill before but may be facing pressure from party leaders to block a final vote on the bill so it can go to President Bush.
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 on Tuesday, reflecting polls showing that 80 percent of Americans back parental involvement laws on abortion.
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: Please phone 202-224-3121 immediately and urge your senators to vote for the cloture motion and to vote for S. 403, the parental notification bill.