What a difference one election makes! This morning, the Senate Education and Health committee voted 8-7 to advance to the full Senate, SB 484, a bill patroned by Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-27, Winchester) that updates Virginia’s informed consent law to require a woman to have an ultrasound performed prior to an abortion and offer her the opportunity to view it if she so chooses. Senator Ralph Smith (R-19, Roanoke) patroned a very similar bill that was incorporated into SB 484.
Today’s victory was the first passage of a substantial pro-life bill through the Senate Education and Health committee in nine years, a truly historic moment for pro-life Virginians.
Both proponents and opponents of the bill showed up in full force this morning. Organizations submitting testimony in favor of the bill included The Family Foundation, Americans United for Life, the Virginia Society for Human Life, the Virginia Catholic Conference, and the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists. Additionally, the committee heard testimony from Dr. John Kuta, a radiologist from the Richmond area, who spoke to the medical efficacy of the bill. Dr. Kuta brilliantly refuted numerous arguments from Senator (and Doctor) Ralph Northam (D-6, Virginia Beach) who is an avid opponent of the ultrasound bill. In addition to Dr. Kuta, a Family Foundation supporter and her son testified about their personal story regarding an ultrasound. The mother who testified, adopted her son at birth after his birth mother had an ultrasound and decided to continue her pregnancy instead of having an abortion.
As usual, the abortion industry, including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Virginia Progressives, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Virginia League of Women Voters vocalized their opposition to the bill. The objections ranged from the concerns the ultrasound would be cost prohibitive to a wild claim that a woman becoming so emotional traumatized over an offer of an ultrasound that she might consider suicide! The Family Foundation videotaped this historic committee proceeding and tomorrow, it should be available for viewing on our YouTube channel.
There is still much work to be done regarding this bill – it must additionally pass on the Senate floor (likely next week), pass successfully through the House committee system (likely late February or early March), and then pass on the House floor (late February or early March) before it is sent to the Governor for a signature. Please continue praying for those who will vote on this important bill – pray that SB 484 will find favor with them and that they would see the potential impact this bill could have for the protection of life and the safety of women. Thank you to those who contacted their Senators and urged them to vote in favor of adding an ultrasound requirement to informed consent. As you can see from today’s monumental vote – each senator’s vote was critical. Join with us as we celebrate this historic pro-life victory!