ANNAPOLIS, FEB. 12 -- The Maryland General Assembly took a major step toward passage of abortion legislation today as the Senate approved a bill that would keep abortion legal in most cases but require that parents of minors be notified. Hours later, key House leaders embraced the Senate-passed proposal.

In marked contrast to last year, when an eight-day filibuster blocked an abortion-rights bill, there was no debate today before the Senate passed the proposal, 29 to 18.

"People had their minds made up on this issue. And they had committed to one side or the other during the course of {last year's} election," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Prince George's), who spearheaded the drive for passage of the bill.

"I don't think anything else was left to be said," said Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. (D-Baltimore County), an abortion opponent.

After the vote, the focus quickly shifted to the House of Delegates, where final action is possible Friday. Leaders of an abortion-rights coalition, backed by most abortion-rights groups, said this afternoon that they will support the Senate bill despite deep misgivings about the parental-notification requirement.

Because the guarantees contained in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision are still in force, the bill approved today would have no immediate effect, if signed into law, on the availability of abortion for Maryland women.

However, Maryland could begin enforcing the new mandate that at least one parent be notified before a girl under age 18 has a legal abortion.

A minor would not have to notify a parent or guardian if her doctor decided she is capable of giving informed consent or if notification would not be in her best interest.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year upheld abortion notification requirements if they include a way for minors to bypass their parents through the courts or physicians. Maryland's old notification requirement was struck down by the state attorney general in the mid-1980s as too strict.

If passed by the House and signed by Gov. William Donald Schaefer (D), the Senate measure would make Maryland one of six states with enforceable laws requiring parental notification. Eleven other states have enforceable parental consent requirements, with medical or judicial bypasses.

Notification remains a divisive issue in the abortion-rights community and in the General Assembly. A splinter group of abortion-rights supporters said they will try to remove the notification provision in a House committee Wednesday or on the floor later.

"Our side seems to have lost its nerve," said Del. Peter Franchot (D-Montgomery), one of those who hope to delete the notification requirement.

However, House passage of any amendments would force the bill back to the Senate, where Miller has said it would die. Today's Senate vote in favor of the abortion bill was three short of the number that would be needed to halt a filibuster, Miller noted.

The bill approved in the Senate today is designed to take the place of Maryland laws that virtually ban abortions. Those laws were invalidated by Roe but would spring back to life if the high court overturned that ruling.

Under the bill, there would be no restrictions on abortions up to the point that the fetus can survive outside the womb. Abortions would be allowed later to protect the life or health of the woman or when there is serious fetal deformity.

Abortion opponents say the bill's parental notification provision is so lax that no notices would be given. However, others say teenagers might still seek dangerous, illegal abortions to avoid the possibility that their parents would be told.

Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte (D-Baltimore County), an abortion-rights leader, said House supporters reluctantly agreed to get behind the Senate bill.

"I can't stand notification," LaMotte said. "But we feel this is the best assurance that there will be a strong 'pro-choice' law should Roe v. Wade be overturned."

But the leader of the Maryland chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League said the group still hopes to defeat the parental notification requirement this year or, at least, make it apply only to girls under 16.

Meanwhile, a leader of the antiabortion faction in the House, Del. Timothy F. Maloney (D-Prince George's), promised to offer restrictive amendments and complained that the bill is moving too swiftly.

"The session's not half over," Maloney said. "I don't believe the House of Delegates is going to let the Senate dictate to it on abortion or any other issue."

Maryland's 47 senators voted as follows. A yes vote was in favor of the abortion bill that passed today.

Democrats voting yes (26):

Walter M. Baker (Cecil); Clarence W. Blount (Baltimore); Mary H. Boergers (Montgomery); George W. Della Jr. (Baltimore); Arthur Dorman (Prince George's); Idamae Garrott (Montgomery); Barbara A. Hoffman (Baltimore); Paula C. Hollinger (Baltimore County); Ralph M. Hughes (Baltimore); Nathan C. Irby Jr. (Baltimore); Julian L. Lapides (Baltimore); Gloria Lawlah (Prince George's); Laurence Levitan (Montgomery); Frederick C. Malkus Jr. (Dorchester); Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (Prince George's); Nancy L. Murphy (Baltimore County); John A. Pica Jr. (Baltimore); Janice Piccinini (Baltimore County); Ida G. Ruben (Montgomery); Patricia R. Sher (Montgomery); Charles H. Smelser (Frederick); Decatur W. Trotter (Prince George's); Gerald W. Winegrad (Anne Arundel); Albert R. Wynn (Prince George's); Thomas M. Yeager (Howard); and Larry Young (Baltimore).

Democrats voting no (12):

William H. Amoss (Harford); Thomas L. Bromwell (Baltimore County); Michael J. Collins (Baltimore County); C. Bernard Fowler (St. Mary's); Habern Freeman (Harford); Leo E. Green (Prince George's); Philip C. Jimeno (Anne Arundel); Thomas P. O'Reilly (Prince George's); American Joe Miedusiewski (Baltimore); James C. Simpson (Charles); Norman R. Stone Jr. (Baltimore County); and Michael J. Wagner (Anne Arundel).

Republicans voting yes (3):

F. Vernon Boozer (Baltimore County); Howard A. Denis (Montgomery); and John W. Derr (Frederick).

Republicans voting no (6):

John A. Cade (Anne Arundel); John J. Hafer (Allegany); Larry E. Haines (Carroll); Christopher J. McCabe (Howard); Donald F. Munson (Washington); and Lewis R. Riley (Wicomico).