Democratic leadership in the Senate blocked the Teen Endangerment Act, officially known as the Child Interstate Abortion Act, late Friday night when Republicans were unable to obtain the 60 votes required to move to a vote. The bill would have criminalized the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion by anyone other than the parent or legal guardian, such as a grandparent or sister. It would also have required doctors to contact a parent or legal guardian of out-of-state patients 24 hours before performing an abortion, even if the abortion provider’s state did not have parental notification or consent laws. The House version of the Teen Endangerment Act was passed last week. If the bill had passed in the Senate on Friday, it would have become law. President Bush had previously agreed to sign the bill if it had passed in both houses.
“Only 13 percent of US counties have any abortion provider at all, so for many women the closest clinic is in a neighboring state. This bill would have forced many young women into either unwilling motherhood or an unsafe, illegal abortion,” said NOW President Kim Gandy in a press release.
“The purpose of this bill was to rally the right-wing base for the midterm elections, nothing more,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “House Republicans must have known the bill was going nowhere when they passed it.”