Susan Jones | Senior Editor | Wednesday, July 26, 2006
"Fourteen Democratic senators voted to pass the bill, but only minutes later the Democratic caucus collectively moved to kill the bill by objecting to the routine, necessary step of sending the bill to a conference committee," said Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.
(Conference committees reconcile differences between bills passed by the House and those passed by the Senate.)
"The Senate Democratic leadership is now obstructing legislation supported by 80 percent of the public, doing the bidding of the abortion lobby. They are ignoring the 80 percent of the public that believes parental notification laws protect vulnerable minors and the rights of parents," Johnson said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) led the Democrats' efforts to kill the bill.
The House of Representatives has passed similar legislation four times since 1998, the NRLC said. Each time it has been killed by actions of the Senate Democratic caucus.
According to NRLC, more than half of the states have passed parental notification or parental consent laws.
States without parental notification/consent requirements include Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington and the District of Columbia. And the Washington Post reported that legal challenges have blocked such laws in nine states: Alaska, California, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New Mexico.
Under S. 403, it would be a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion without fulfilling the requirements of parental notification or consent laws in the girl's home state.
Various conservative advocacy groups applauded Senate passage of the bill, while Democrats criticized it as a Republican effort to play to its base.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) said the bill would ensure that teenage girls are not smuggled across state lines without their parents' knowledge to secretly have an abortion.
"There are many ill-intentioned adults who would like nothing more than to cover up their actions by covertly terminating a pregnancy," said Lanier Swann, CWA's director of government relations. She was referring to older men who prey on girls.
"Parents have to give permission for everything from library cards to field trips to taking medication at school. Why shouldn't they be informed about their daughter's potential abortion: a very serious procedure? Passing this bill means we are one step closer to enacting a law which will better protect the family unit and young girls throughout the nation," Swann added.
Likewise, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the bill closes a loophole that abortion clinics exploit.
"It is unconscionable that abortion clinics from states without parental notification laws advertise their services to minors in states that have them. This Senate bill upholds the right of the states to determine parental participation law," Perkins said.
"I fully expect a strong bill to come out of conference and be passed by both bodies," Perkins added.
Some Democrats say the bill would hurt girls who may have been impregnated by an abusive father -- or girls who have other reasons to fear or distrust their parents.
"We're going to sacrifice a lot of girls' lives," the Washington Post quoted Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as saying.
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