The 2019 General Assembly session wrapped up last Sunday, and in my 19 years with The Family Foundation, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. It was a whirlwind of major policy issues with game-changing implications, fought over in a raw and unpredictable political slug-fest marked by all the hype, drama and epic showdowns one could hardly expect from a primetime Hollywood storyline – and so much of it played out on a national stage. In Virginia’s Capitol of recent days, the truth is stranger than fiction. Yet from the midst of all the chaos has emerged one miraculous victory after another, and while this session didn’t end with a perfect record, we consider it a tremendous success. In Part 1 of our 2019 Session Recap, we highlight some of the issues involving life.
All 15 Abortion Bills Were Defeated (including "New York" counterpart and the so-called "ERA"), we have the most Pro-Life budget in decades, and we won a big victory in our Lawsuit over abortion facility regulations.
Roughly 15 bills to expand abortion in Virginia were introduced this year, and we are thrilled to report that ALL of them were defeated – including the infamous “New York” style abortion bill aimed at repealing essentially every restriction on abortion we’ve spent decades to put in place, and even allowing for abortions for any reason up to the moment of birth! And of course, there was also the whole fiasco of Governor Ralph Northam actually defending infanticide AFTER a baby is already born – and then doubling down on his position instead of backtracking or clarifying, with virtually every Democratic legislator and top official fully backing him up on it. A national firestorm ensued, and for the first time in a long time, we are actuallygetting to have a substantive public conversation about what abortion really is - and what many of our elected officials actually believe about it.
And as if that wasn’t intense enough, we faced (and defeated!) a nationalized effort to make Virginia the 38th and final state to ratify the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, which among many other terrible consequences, would likely be used to establish a new constitutional right to taxpayer-funded abortion. Despite every last effort to make Virginia the last to fall in a proxy-war over abortion and seemingly every other Leftist agenda item, we pulled out a victory - with credit belonging to a lot of good people, and especially the courageous leaders in the House. You can read more about the epic battle to defeat the ERA this year on our blog here, here, and here. While many important matters were going on these past few months, the 2019 session became, without question, the year dominated by life.
Watch our short video clip about some of it:
There were also several good foster care and adoption bills that passed this year. We also saw, for the very first time, a bill introduced to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which failed.
HJ 715 (R-Byron), a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting public funding of abortion, unfortunately, did not go forward – this despite our initiating a Mason-Dixon statewide poll confirming that 56% of Virginians oppose tax-paying funding of abortions, while only 34% support it. (with 10% undecided) Read more about what happened to it on our blog here.
The session ended on a high note with the House and Senate agreeing to what appears to be the most pro-life budget in decades! We are thrilled to report that three critically important pro-life amendments have made it into the final budget that has gone to the Governor for approval. They would: 1) Limit the public funding of abortions with the "Hyde Amendment", 2) Stop the “LARC” program dollars from flowing to abortion providers, and 3) Require the Health Department to report its reasons for approving state-funded abortions.
Finally, right in the middle of all these, we learned that we won our two-year legal battle over the Board of Health’s illegal repeal of many common-sense health and safety regulations for Virginia’s abortion facilities! Read about our victory here.
What an incredible year it was for life! We have so much to be thankful for and excited about. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our Session recaps on the other important issues that matter most to you.