The budget (HB 30) advanced by the House Appropriations Committee Sunday included several limitations on taxpayer funding of abortion, abortion providers and, maybe most importantly, on the governor's office. For good reason. When he campaigned for governor, Terry McAuliffe infamously proclaimed that he would issue a "guidance opinion" to stop the enforcement and implementation of Virginia's abortion center health and safety standards (see video here). Never mind that no one has ever heard of a "guidance opinion" (another rookie mistake) and the fact that a Virginia governor cannot unilaterally overturn a regulatory board's decisions, McAuliffe's statement revealed his desire to undermine the abortion center safety standards.
No wonder. He received nearly $2 million in reported campaign contributions from the abortion industry, which has fought against basic health standards for its $1 billion industry for years.
The House Appropriations committee, in an effort to ensure that the governor cannot circumvent the law, has introduced a budget amendment that would prevent . . .
funding in this budget or any matching funds . . . provided to implement any Executive order, Executive directive, guidance opinion or other direction from the Office of the Governor to suspend the regulations surrounding the operation of abortion clinics.
Essentially, if the House gets its way, any efforts by the Governor McAuliffe to undermine the law that could cost taxpayers money will be unfunded.
The House appropriators also included budget language that would bring Virginia in line with the federal "Hyde Amendment," which prohibits Virginia from funding abortion beyond rape, incest and life of the mother. Virginia currently funds abortion beyond those cases to include abortions for the severely disabled.
The Appropriations Committee included another amendment to prohibit taxpayer subsidizing of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest and wealthiest abortion provider. Nearly half of Planned Parenthood's funding comes from the taxpayers. Unfortunately, as expected, the Senate, controlled by pro-abortion legislators, included no amendments restricting abortion funding.
This week, the House and Senate will debate and amend their respective budgets, and vote on them Thursday. Later, each chamber will reject the other's budget, and a conference committee of select members of the House and Senate will work to create a final budget.
The battle over the budget is likely to last well into spring, but one thing is for sure: Thanks to the House Appropriations Committee, protecting unborn human life won't be missing from the discussion. We very much appreciate that it made protecting human life an important part of its budget.