July 25, 2006

Senate backs limit on minors’ abortion travel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday by a
65-34 vote passed a bill making it a crime to transport a
pregnant minor across state lines for an abortion to skirt
parental notification rules in her home state.

The bill must be reconciled with a slightly tougher version
passed by the U.S. House of Representatives before it goes to
President George W. Bush for his signature. Bush strongly backs
the bill.

The House has passed similar legislation at least four
times since 1998, but opponents had blocked a Senate vote.

Anti-abortion rights forces gained strength in the Senate
in the 2004 elections and Republicans pushed to bring up the
bill before this year's congressional elections. Opinion polls
have shown the measure is popular.

Backers of the bill said parents need to be involved with
health decisions of their daughters. Critics said it isolates
and potentially endangers girls who may be victims of abuse or
even incest.