The U.S. House on Wednesday voted 260-161 for the Child Custody Protection Act. The Senate failed to act on the measure in 1999 and in 1998, when the House passed the bill for the first time.
Cathleen Cleaver, a spokeswoman for the bishops´ pro-life activities office, said: "This act re-establishes the right of a parent to be a parent, and it will help to protect young, vulnerable girls from exploitation. We applaud the House for passing the Child Custody Protection Act and we urge the Senate to act without delay."
Meanwhile, Cleaver criticized a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge in Oregon which struck down the U.S. Attorney General´s directive stating that doctors in Oregon may not use federally controlled drugs to assist suicides.
Attorney General John Ashcroft´s directive had reversed predecessor Janet Reno´s decision to allow doctors in Oregon to prescribe lethal doses of federally controlled substances to cause the death of patients.
The U.S. Justice Department is expected to appeal the case.
"This federal involvement in assisted suicide tells suffering people that their country finds their lives expendable," Cleaver said. "Is this what America stands for?"
The bishops´ aide added: "The sad truth is that Oregonians are killing themselves with the help of doctors because they are depressed."