Deeply saddened

I am writing to you wanting so desperately to be happy that when the House of Delegates reconvened yesterday afternoon, they voted against adding sexual orientation to the state's non-discrimination hiring policy, and they added restrictions to the circumstances in which the state will pay for abortions. 

I want to remind you that these were really good things and tell you that we are very grateful that all 51 Republicans voted for both of these yesterday. 

But I am instead deeply grieved. And you should be too. This grief is not even about Medicaid expansion, which remains in the House's budget - but something, frankly, much more stomach-churning. Despite every effort we made to stop the creation of a brand new slush fund of money being funneled directly to Planned Parenthood, the House budget will effectively hand the abortion industry $6 million. The Senate budget that is likely to be passed could hand them $10.8 million. 

There is a lot I could tell you about all that we tried to prevent this fund from ever being created. 

I could tell you that for several previous years, we've successfully prevented this initiative from being in the final budget. 

Or how the chamber in the previous two years has voted to prevent state tax dollars from going to the abortion industry, without a single Republican opposing it. (The House still has 51 Republicans.)

I could tell you how we met with various budget appropriators, members of leadership, and the entire Conservative Caucus. 

Or about how we've drafted amendments to prevent the creation of a slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and what it’s like to hear all the excuses about why they didn’t even take a vote to try to remove it.

I could tell you about how small deceptions can seem very convincing, and how even people who proclaim to be pro-life can begin to think that there are still reasons to fund the abortion industry. 

You honestly don’t want to know.

But it doesn’t really matter at this point why we are where we are, or who did what, or even who is to blame - although there’s enough blame to go around. What matters is that the state is about to hand Planned Parenthood and the other abortion centers millions of dollars so that when a vulnerable, low-income woman walks in to make an already-tragic decision to end the life of her child, the staff will then, in her moment of vulnerability and weakness, ask her if she really thinks she could handle being a mom and whether she could really provide for her future children a life worth living. And when she acknowledges life’s hardships, they are going to insert a device to prevent future pregnancies - for up to 10 years. 

And now, you’re going to pay for it. This is the new pilot program that your elected officials apparently believe we should create. 

If our elected officials really wanted to help these women, they might instead create a grant program to help fund the valuable work of the several dozen Pregnancy Resource Centers who work with this same population of women to offer them support, encouragement, and resources to become the women we know they can be -- successful moms, students, employees, and more. It’s on these doorsteps women show up downtrodden, fearful and needy.  The heroes at these centers know from story after story that with this kind of help, a woman can in fact overcome the odds. But apparently, our government would rather help the abortion industry. 

At some point, one has to ask how a pro-life legislator can vote for this final budget. The one positive is that 32 House Republicans and 1 House Democrat did vote against this monstrosity yesterday.

Sometimes my heart becomes numb to the terrible things state government can do because, after 18 years, I have seen it all.  But today, I wish I felt numb.  Instead, I feel deep sadness.

If this issue resonates with you too, I would encourage you to reach out to your legislators and let them know how important this is to you, and plead with them not to allow this to be included in the final budget.