- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) A bill that would require a parent to consent before an unwed daughter younger than 18 can have an abortion won overwhelming final passage yesterday from the House of Delegates.
Delegate Richard H. Black's bill expanding a state law that already requires parents to be notified when underage daughters seek abortions advanced to the Senate on a 73-25 vote, partly on the strength of a dozen conservative freshman delegates elected last year.
The bill, however, faces a cooler reception in the Senate and, if it survives, a likely veto from Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner, who opposes new restrictions on abortion.
After searing debate earlier in the week before the House Courts of Justice Committee, the full House voted after Delegate Brian Moran spoke for only two minutes against the bill. Mr. Moran, Alexandria Democrat, said the legislation unrealistically presumes that all families are caring and all parents are supportive.
Mr. Black, Loudoun Republican, said the bill makes exceptions for girls to bypass their parents, going instead to a judge for consent, in cases of parental abuse or neglect. It is patterned closely after the 1997 parental notice law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 1999.
One of the Republican freshmen who gave her party a nearly veto-proof majority, Delegate Winsome Sears, said the state owes parents some say in the medical care of their children.
"I have daughters. If something goes wrong during this procedure, who would take care of this child?" the Norfolk delegate said in an interview.
Not all Republicans supported the bill. Delegate Terrie Suit of Virginia Beach said she voted against the bill because there was no exception for girls made pregnant through rape or incest.
In other action yesterday, the House voted 82-16 to increase the age of children required to be secured in child-restraint devices. It moves the maximum age from 4 to 6, but includes exceptions that allow children under 6 who are too big to squeeze into a child-restraint seat to make use of a standard seat belt.

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