Thursday, July 06, 2006

U.S. Senate to Vote on Key Pro-Life Issues: Human Embryo Research and Parental Notification for Abortion

This is a congressional alert from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), issued July 6, 2006. For further updates on congressional developments, visit the Legislative Action Center at the NRLC website.
Please note the alert has been edited.

Some very important pro-life votes during the 2005-2006 Congress will occur during July.

On June 29, the Senate reached a unanimous agreement to consider three bills dealing with the use of human embryos and fetuses in stem cell research and other medical research.

In addition, the Senate will soon act on legislation to protect the right of parents to be involved in the abortion decisions of their minor daughters. These votes may occur any time after July 10.

HUMAN EMBRYOS The Senate agreed to consider H.R. 810, a bill to require federal funding of research using stem cells obtained by killing human embryos. This bill, which is strongly opposed by National Right to Life and Arizona Right to Life, would overturn President Bush's pro-life policy against federal funding of any research that requires the killing of human embryos. H.R. 810 passed the House of Representatives on May 24, 2005, by a vote of 238 to 194. Under the agreement reached by the Senate on June 29, the Senate will vote up-or-down on H.R. 810, with no amendments in order. If 60 senators vote to pass the bill, it will be sent to President Bush, who has repeatedly vowed that he will veto it. If fewer than 60 senators vote for the bill, it will be dead for the year.

The Senate agreement also provides for votes on two worthwhile bills, both sponsored by pro-life Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa): S. 3504 and S. 2754. Each will require 60 votes to pass.

S. 3504, the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act, would make it a federal offense for a researcher to use tissue from a human baby who has been gestated in a woman's womb, or an animal womb, for the purpose of providing such tissue. Some researchers have already conducted such "fetus farming" experiments with animals -- for example, by gestating cloned calves to four months and then aborting them to obtain their kidney and heart tissues for transplantation.

S. 2754, the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act, would require the National Institutes of Health to support research to try to find methods of creating pluripotent stem cells (which are cells that can be turned into any sort of body tissue) without creating or harming human embryos. All senators should be encouraged to vote against H.R. 810, and in favor of the ban on fetus farming (S. 3504) and the ethical-alternatives bill (S. 2754).

Action item: Tell your senators that you are in favor of research, but not the kinds of research that require the killing of human embryos.

Guidance on how to send messages to your senators appears below.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT In addition to the bills described above, the Senate is expected to soon turn to the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 8, S. 403), which would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion, if this is done to circumvent a state parental notification or parental consent law. To see a complete list of Senate cosponsors of this bill, click here.

About half of the states have laws in effect to require that a parent must be notified or give consent before an abortion can be performed on a minor daughter. (Because of U.S. Supreme Court requirements, these laws also give the girl the option of going to a state judge to waive the requirement.) These laws are often circumvented when minors cross state lines into neighboring states that do not have parental involvement laws. Indeed, some abortion clinics actively advertise in neighboring states, using avoidance of parental involvement requirements as a selling point.

The Child Custody Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nv.), would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across states lines to obtain an abortion, if this circumvents a state parental notification or consent requirement.

All senators should be urged to support the Child Custody Protection Act, and to oppose all weakening amendments.

(The House has already passed its own version of parental notification legislation, the NRLC-backed Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, on April 27, 2005, by a vote of 270-157.)

Different Ways to Communicate with Members of Congress

NRLC Website
To communicate quickly and effectively with your senators' offices, you can use the NRLC Legislative Action Center on the NRLC website at This resource will help you easily send messages to your two U.S. senators in opposition to federal funding of embryo-killing research, and in support of parental involvement legislation. Once you are at the Legislative Action Center, click on the latest Action Alerts that deal with the issues discussed above. You will be shown suggested e-mail messages (which you can easily modify) to send to lawmakers, with different appropriate messages for sponsors and nonsponsors of the bills.

You can also communicate with your senators by calling their Washington, D.C., offices through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you are unsure of who represents you, just give the operator the name of your state, and you will be connected to the correct offices. It is very helpful to also call the local in-state offices of your senators. Those numbers are available on the NRLC website's Legislative Action Center under "Elected Officials," at

Faxed Letters
If you prefer to fax a letter, you can use the tab "Elected Officials" ( to find the fax numbers of your senators (for any who choose to publish a fax number). You can also obtain such fax numbers by telephoning your senators' offices (see above), or by referring to congressional websites such as

U.S. Mail
You can communicate with your senators by U.S. mail at the following address. However, delivery of U.S. mail to congressional offices is often delayed by security-related processing, and therefore your letters probably would be received too late to be counted. Senator _______ U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510

Additional Resources

For additional resources on research involving human embryos and children in utero:

For additional resources on federal parental and state parental involvement laws and legislation:


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