Of all the 50 states in the Union today, only one has the ignominious distinction of having two senators who wish to appear voting pro-life, but in the end vote against enacting pro-life laws.
The legislation in question here is the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403), also known as the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 748).
If anyone other than a parent were transporting a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion in circumvention of state abortion restrictions, this federal legislation would require an abortionist to notify the parents of that minor child of the impending abortion.
This is not a consent requirement--just notification.
So, even if the parents objected to their minor daughter getting an abortion out-of-state, they have no legal means to stop it. This is legislation that 80% of the public supports.
The original bill in the Senate only made transporting a minor across state lines a crime, and did not have the notification requirement. The vote was 65-34. When the notification requirement was added in the House of Representatives (264-153), Sen. Durbin (D-IL) blocked the bill in the Senate.
About this, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) wrote to one of his constituents, "I supported the bill because it is vitally important that parents be involved in the decision to have an abortion." He continued, "Having supported the Child Custody Protection Act, I am disappointed to hear about this objection and hopeful that it will be lifted so that the bill can move forward (emphasis added)" (Letter PDF).
Sen. Frist (R-TN) forced a vote on the issue with a cloture petition, but that requires 60 votes for passage. You would think with the original bill garnering 65 votes this wouldn't be a problem. Not so. The cloture motion failed by 3 votes, going down 57-42. This was the Senate's final vote of the year before the election.
Eight Senators switched their votes from Yea to Nay with the parental notification requirement added. Both Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) voted for the bill, and then against allowing it to "move forward."
Doesn't the state of North Dakota deserve to have at least one Senator who truly supports legislation with 80% support of the population?
Dwight Grotberg is running against Kent Conrad in the upcoming elections. He said, "The Child Custody Protection Act was an important bill that would have protected our children from being exploited by others and helped safe-guard a parent's ability to guide a daughter facing important, life-impacting decisions regarding pregnancy and abortion. As a parent, I would have given this bill my unwavering support.
"I believe North Dakotans would have been much better served by a vote in favor of the Child Custody Protection Act as it would have helped improve the effectiveness of our own two-parent notification state abortion law and brought a higher level of accountability to the abortion industry nationwide."
The people of North Dakota will have a chance to put a real pro-life vote in the Senate in 32 days.