Late Tuesday night, Governor Bob McDonnell handed down a pro-life amendment that The Family Foundation had been strongly urging. This amendment to Delegate Terry Kilgore’s HB 2434 directing the Commonwealth to set up health exchanges in accordance with the federal health insurance overhaul, restricts Virginia’s health insurance exchanges from covering abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. Without a change like the Government’s amendment, pro-life citizens opposed to abortion will be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life. Now, the General Assembly must accept the Governor’s amendment at next Wednesday’s veto session. During this year’s General Assembly session, similar health insurance abortion funding opt-out language was passed by the House of Delegates twice with overwhelming majorities, but was defeated in the Senate. Actually, a procedural vote was taken at the end of session to strike a bill almost identical to the Government’s language, and the senate vote unfortunately fell 22-18 on party lines. Since the Governor’s language is strictly a policy vote, not a procedural vote, we hope to urge at least two pro-life democrats to support the amendment.
And that is really where the battle lies. Regardless of what actions are taken by the Governor, the state Senate has been the body that has blocked nearly every pro-life effort for several years. Over the next week, we will be mobilizing citizens across Virginia to contact key Senators to make sure they know the citizens of Virginia want this amendment passed. It is clear that it will not be until the state Senate reflects the values of Virginia that we will see many victories. The opportunity to make those changes is quickly approaching, as all 40 Senate seats are up for election in November.
We believe the key to sustaining the amendment lies with five key legislators: Senators Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian), Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell). Contact these legislators today and urge them to vote yes on Governor McDonnell’s amendment to HB 2434: an abortion funding opt-out for health insurance exchanges.
You can contact them by email by clicking the link below or by phone:
- Senator Quayle: 757-483-9173
- Senator Watkins: 804-379-2063
- Senator Reynolds: 276-638-2315
- Senator Colgan: 703-368-0300
- Senator Puckett: 276-979-8181