Democrats Deny Playing Politics on Parental Notification Abortion Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 4, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Deny Playing Politics on Parental Notification Abortion Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 4
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A spokesman for a leading pro-abortion Democrat denies that Senate Democrats played politics on a parental notification measure. Pro-life organizations blasted eight Democrats who voted for a parental notification bill in July but changed their vote and narrowly defeated a final measure that would have gone to the president.

The Senate initially approved the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act in July on a 65 to 34 vote. The bill makes sure that no one can take a teenager to another state for a secret abortion that violates the parental involvement laws of the girl’s home state.

Following the vote, which saw more than a dozen Democrats back the pro-life bill, Senate Democrats banded together to prevent a final version from being crafted.

The House then approved a second version of the bill — combining its legislation and the Senate’s measure — and eight of the Democrats who backed the original bill voted to prevent a vote on the revised measure.

Four of the Democratic senators who flip-flopped on parental notification are up for re-election, including Tom Carper of Delaware, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin. Only Nelson faces a race with significant competition, as he is challenged by pro-life Rep. Katherine Harris, who is lagging in the polls.

In an interview with the Cybercast News Service, Joe Bonfiglio, a spokesman for Kohl, claimed the upcoming November election didn’t affect the senator’s vote. He told CNS Kohl sided with abortion advocates in preventing a vote because the revised measure didn’t go through the committee process.

"I don’t think that factored into his (Kohl’s) decision at all," he said of election-year politics.

"The Senate bill that was considered last week was a vastly expanded bill that senators didn’t have a chance to debate or amend," Bonfiglio said. "The Senate had never seen, held a hearing on, a markup or held a floor vote on that bill."

CNS said that representatives of other senators who flip-flopped, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, did not respond to requests for comment on either Monday or Tuesday.

Only one reliable pro-life Democrat, Nebraska Sen Ben Nelson, is in the Senate. He joined all but a handful of pro-abortion Republicans in calling for a vote on the revised parental notification measure.

Pro-life advocates are concerned that the results of the November Congressional elections will yield fewer pro-life votes in both the House and Senate. That made it more critical that Congress send President Bush the bill this year.