This morning was the Senate Education and Health Committee's annual "Black Thursday" — each session, the committee hears the pro-life bills passed by the House of Delegates on the last Thursday of its calendar and promptly kills them. It did this under Republican control and continues to do so under Democrat control. Under Democrat control, however, the committee was stacked in a way out of proportion 10-5 majority despite only having a two-seat advantage in the chamber (see "Senate Math" here).
This year, it did no less. It killed HB 393 and HB 334 on 11-5 votes, with Republican Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk) joining the 10 Democrats in not being able to bring himself to vote for life-saving equipment in abortion centers nor providing women considering abortion accurate information about the risks of future pregnancies and births. It left HB 1042 to die without a hearing when Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) was unable to attend the meeting.
However, just as not all Republicans are not pro-life (Senator Quayle and others), not all Democrats are "pro-choice." For several years now, we have been proud to ally ourselves with Democrats For Life of America, a national organization of pro-life Democrats, with chapters in several states. It works to bring the pro-life philosophy to the Democrat Party and boasts several high-profile elected officials, such as U.S. Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), author of the Stupak Amendment in the House version of the health care "reform" bill. The amendment bans federal funding of abortion or mandates on insurance companies to cover abortion. DFL issued a letter last night in support of HB 393. It is below in its entirety, including its Board members. We salute the continued good work and success of Democrats For Life of America.
Democrats For Life of America, Inc.
DFLA - The pro-life voice within the Democratic Party
March 3, 2010
Dear Chairman Houck and Members of the Committee:
Democrats For Life of America supports HB 393 and urges you to support this important legislation.
Abortion can be a divisive issue. We, at Democrats For Life of America, have worked to find areas of agreement where, regardless of one’s position on abortion, people can agree on good policy.
While we oppose abortion, we have worked for over five years on our 95-10 Initiative with the goal of reducing abortion by providing women who experience unplanned pregnancies with assistance so they will have the resources and support to bring their child to term. But some women will still see abortion -- a surgical procedure -- as their only option. So it is essential that we protect their health and safety under proper standards of care.
HB 393 is good policy, which provides for only three basic provisions any facility that performs invasive surgery should be asked to accommodate: an annual inspection, a license and having life-saving equipment on location. Certainly, we can agree that these are reasonable for anyone who thinks abortion should be legal, but safe. HB 393 is an opportunity both sides of this issue to come together to do what is best for Virginia’s women.
If this were any other procedure, the facility would be licensed by the Commonwealth and subject to reasonable regulations. We should not think of this as an infringement on abortion rights, but a good bill to protect Virginia women from potentially unsafe situations.
We urge the Committee to vote for this common-sense measure to protect the women of Virginia.