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Bush OKs Abortion Restriction

A Texas bill requiring that parents be notified when their minor daughters seek abortions has been signed into law by Governor George W. Bush.

"This law both respects families and protects life," Bush said Monday during a signing ceremony.

Under the law, effective Sept. 1, an unmarried girl under age 18 cannot get an abortion until one of her parents is notified or she gets a judge's permission.

The law does not require the parent's consent.

Bush, who is on the verge of beginning travels around the United States to push a presidential bid, has been criticized by some in the anti-abortion movement as being soft on abortion.

In March, Bush said he would back a constitutional amendment to outlaw most abortions if more voters supported it. But he said, "America is not ready to ban abortions." In the meantime, he said, officials should promote policies that reduce them.

Opponents of the parental notification law argued that it targets the most vulnerable girls and that pregnant minors fearful of having to tell their parents of their situation will instead opt for dangerous illegal abortions.

Bush has said the law will reduce the number of abortions in the state and "involve parents in this major decision of their minor daughters." Of the 84,870 abortions reported in 1997 to the Texas Department of Health, about 5,500 were performed on minors.

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