Abortion Funding

GA Update: This Week's Abortion Votes

Yesterday morning, the Senate Education and Health Committee, on a party line 9-5 vote (with 1 abstention) reported SB 617 to the Senate floor, a bill that would repeal the ultrasound update to the informed consent law that conservatives fought hard to pass in 2012. The bill's patrons are Senators Mame Locke (D-2, Hampton) and Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico). The full Senate will vote on the ultrasound repeal bill Tuesday. Virginia's ultrasound law allows women the opportunity to see their unborn child prior to making an irreversible, life-altering decision. While ultrasounds were already standard protocol prior to the 2012 legislation, abortion doctors were not showing the picture to their patients. This window into the womb is powerful and no matter the choice of a woman, it allows her a more informed decision and reduces regret. The ultrasound law is about requiring the abortion doctor simply to turn the screen.

Additionally, ultrasounds are medically necessary prior to an abortion. An ultrasound determines not only gestational age, but gestational position (whether the pregnancy is uterine or ectopic), viability, if a woman is actually pregnant (it's not unheard of for an abortion to be performed on a non-pregnant woman), and if there are multiples. All of these factors are critical information for the doctor to have when the abortion is performed if the safety of the woman is a priority.

However, we know that all too often, unfortunately, the safety of the woman is not the first priority of abortion doctors. An owner of two abortion centers in Virginia was found not even to have medical-malpractice insurance despite swearing otherwise under oath (see The New Yorker). Virginia Department of Health inspection reports reveal that the Roanoke Medical Center for Women performed abortions on multiple minors without parental notification or consent, in violation of Virginia law. There are countless other violations we could cite, but suffice it to say the abortion industry has proven that a woman's safety is not its priority. That is precisely why ultrasounds must be required — for a woman's safety because we cannot rely on the abortion industry to take precautions.

The Education and Health Committee also voted to report SB 618 yesterday on another party line vote (9-6). The bill, patroned by Senator Locke, would reinstate abortion funding in Virginia's federally mandated healthcare exchange. It would force taxpayers to subsidize abortions against their conscience. It will be up for final passage in the Senate on Tuesday as well.

The Virginia Senate is not the only chamber taking abortion votes. On Wednesday, the House of Delegates voted on several important measures, as well. The Courts of Justice Constitutional Law Sub-Committee voted to defeat three different attempts to repeal or water down the ultrasound law (HB 546, HB 547 and HB 1056), and a measure that would redefine birth control to include "emergency contraception" or the morning after pill (HB565,). The bills' patrons all were Democrat women: Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn, Jeion Ward and Vivian Watts.

The subcommittee also tabled by voice vote HB 98, patroned by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), a bill that would have criminalized sex-selective abortion. The committee cited various enforcement issues that they were unable to easily fix (i.e., is it fair to criminalize the doctor for the discriminatory thoughts of the mother? How do you prove the baby was aborted for sex-selective reasons?), but seemed to resonate with the concept behind the bill.

The battle for the sanctity of life is fierce in Richmond. Please be in prayer over these Senate bills. Pray that pro-life senators are courageous in their stand for life despite political pressure to the contrary. Your prayers are of great value and are much appreciated.

General Assembly Issue Five: General Assembly Liberals Take Page From Lady Gaga Playbook

This is the fifth in a series about key issues facing the 2011 General Assembly, which starts January 12. Issue One, Life Defined And Protected, was posted Tuesday; Issue Two, Eliminate ObamaCare Induced Abortion Funding In Virginia, was posted Wednesday; and Issue Three, Restoring The Balance Of Power, was posted Thursday; and the fourth, Transparency Isn't Just A Word, was posted Friday.

Richmond's liberal political class appears to have completely missed the message of the voters in Virginia concerned about over spending and joblessness. Instead, taking a page out of the Harry Reid-Lady Gaga playbook (see Film Industry Network blog), they plan on making homosexual issues their top priority (see Richmond Biz Sense) the coming General Assembly session.

Building on what they view as "momentum" from the lame-duck Congress' vote to repeal the military's "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, Democrat leaders will focus their energies on passing legislation that would give special protections to homosexuals, not just in state government hiring as they tried in the past, but in all hiring — public and private — across Virginia.

This fulfills the dream of the ACLU's Kent Willis who said last year:

We hope this is only the beginning, and that [it] will inspire legislators to finally pass a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both private and public sector employment. (Emphasis added.)

This blatant attack on religious freedom would pose a threat to every church, faith based ministry, adoption agency, school and charity in the commonwealth. No longer content with an incremental approach, it appears that Virginia liberals want it all and they want it now.

Of course, we are confident that their legislation will go no further than it did last year. The fact is that there is no evidence of broad discrimination against homosexuals taking place in Virginia. Even The Washington Post admitted that there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government. Proponents of the measure can point to one —just one — case where someone filed suit that they were fired because of their "sexual orientation," but even that case has been disputed.

According to one of the nation’s leading homosexual activist leaders and recent Obama appointee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (approval for her nomination took place in the late night final hours of the lame duck Congress), Chai Feldblum:

There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases sexual liberty should win. I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.

Those who advocate for the advancement of sexual behavior protections in our law have little or no room for those who have religious convictions on those issues. In her paper, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion, Feldblum, who authored the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), argues quite openly that it is the primary goal of this political movement to elevate (either through legislation or the courts) homosexual orientation to moral equivalence with heterosexual orientation, and to do so at the cost of religious liberty. She admits in her assessment of the clash that:

We are in a zero-sum game: a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side, (but) in making the decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the (sexual) liberty of LGBT people.

So there you have it, the true motivation behind the so-called "non-discrimination laws." It is to discriminate against people whose faith teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

General Assembly Issue Three: Restoring The Balance Of Power

This is the third in a series about key issues facing this year’s General Assembly. Issue One, Life Defined And Protected, was posted Tuesday and Issue Two, Eliminate ObamaCare Induced Abortion Funding In Virginia, was posted yesterday.

It's the word of the day — federalism. Few Americans have any idea what it actually means or know its historical origins, but with the massive expansion of the federal government since the election of President Obama, more people are learning. From the government take over of health care, student loans and auto companies, to bailouts of banks, AIG and Fannie Mac and Freddie Mae, we have seen an unprecedented expansion of federal power.

Essentially, federalism means that the federal government will do what it is constitutionally empowered to do, and the states will take care of their own business. It has long been forgotten that the federal government exists at the mercy of the states or, as per the constitution, "to the people" — not the other way around. The government was meant to be our servant (thus the term "public service"), but now Washington has become the master, controlling aspects of life and the economy once thought preposterous, and demanding us to feed it with ever more of our heard earned money and compliance with its controls on our liberty.

But as the federal government explodes in size and power, some efforts are being undertaken to attempt to restore at least some balance of power (see Pat McSweeney's Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed). The recent elections are evidence that while Americans may not be entirely familiar with federalism, they support it.

In Virginia, an effort to restore federalism is being led by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) through a repeal amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The repeal amendment would simply allow for any federal law — ObamaCare, for example — to be repealed if two-thirds of the states agree on the repeal. You might say it's a bill to protect "fly over country" from ideas that start in New York and California.

The Family Foundation supports this effort. We believe that there is an important role for the federal government but that its jurisdiction is limited. A repeal amendment would be a step toward restoring the intent of the constitution.

A concern is that the resolution calls for the ratification of this amendment through a constitutional convention, rather than through the congressional-state legislative ratification process. While some think a convention could have unintended consequences, any effort to do so can be limited to this issue alone. Frankly, the constitution is being misinterpreted by the courts and federal government just about every day. The repeal amendment would give states the ability to correct some of those misinterpretations.

Senators Ryan McDougle (R-4, Mechanicsville) and Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), and Delegate Jim LeMunyon (R-67, Oak Hill) have introduced legislation (SJ 280 and HJ 542, respectively) requiring Congress to call a convention to add the repeal amendment to the constitution. At least two-thirds of the states would have to pass similar resolutions before Congress must act.

Our Founding Fathers understood the need for a system of checks and balances — both within the federal government (executive, legislative and judicial) — and between the federal government and the states that created it. The repeal amendment would be another tool that could be used to protect our freedoms and ensure that balance is restored.

General Assembly Issue Two: Eliminate ObamaCare Induced Abortion Funding In Virginia

This is the second in a series about key issues facing this year’s General Assembly. Issue One, Life Defined And Protected, was posted yesterday.

Last General Assembly session, just before Congressional liberals rammed through their government-run health insurance overhaul (see ObamaCare411.com), Virginia responded to the mood of its citizens and passed the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act. Once the federal health insurance changes were signed into law, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli quickly filed suit in federal court to defend (see video) the constitutional rights of Virginians

Legal challenges aside, ObamaCare is scheduled to be fully implemented by 2014. While we hope Virginia's lawsuit will succeed, no one can, with anything close to certainty, count on the courts to invalidate the law or on Congress to repeal it (see 21StateLawSuit.com). 

We especially are concerned about the provisions of the law that allow for abortion funding. That's because ObamaCare puts states in charge of their own health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses. If enacted today, Virginia could potentially include, in its exchange, plans that cover elective abortion. In fact, Pennsylvania and Maryland already have moved to include such plans (see CNSNews.com). Without intervention by the General Assembly, pro-family citizens opposed to abortion would be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life. Virginians may be divided on the issue of abortion, but a vast majority are opposed to publicly funding it with their hard earned tax dollars.

However, there is a clause in the federal health insurance plan that allows states to opt out of abortion funding in their state run exchanges. Such action also fulfills the executive order signed by President Obama that theoretically protects Americans from funding abortion through the health insurance scheme. According to Americans United for Life, a total of 25 states, including Virginia, have either opted out or have plans to introduce legislation with the hope of preventing health insurance companies in the exchange from providing abortion coverage. 

Toward that end, The Family Foundation is supporting legislation introduced this session by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge) that would prevent insurance plans in the Virginia exchange from providing abortion coverage. Especially in today's financial climate, it is unconscionable to mandate Virginians to underwrite a publicly unsupported issue resulting in the destruction of human life.

Virginia News Stand: April 15, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Nuts And Bolts, Tax Day, TEA Party Version

After yesterday's very meaty edition of the News Stand, we've compiled a very basic version today — can't always keep that pace up, you know. Plus, there's other stuff to do. (What good conservative blogger wouldn't be getting ready for the TEA Party tonight?) Still, we have a good variety of reading for you today, especially of state news, of which we play a big part (the first three links).

Something else of interest: The Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this week on a property dispute between the (liberal) Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and nine more traditional (or orthodox) parishes that broke away and kept their property when the Episcopals appointed an openly homosexual bishop in New Hampshire a few years ago. The diocese wants the land back. At contention is an 1867 Virginia law meant to referee such disputes. 

Nationally, the polls show liberal leaders falling faster than American prestige around the world, and — lo and behold! — TEA Party members are wealthier and better educated than most and not racist! Golly Gee! (This is only news to mainstream media types, but fun to cite.)

Have fun paying your taxes (those who do) and attend a TEA Party!

News

*McDonnell proposes adding to Va. budget to attract commerce (Washington Post)

*Pro-choice plate avoids McDonnell veto pen (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

*Governor McDonnell Targets Abortion Funding (Video 2:16) (CBS6/WTVR.com)

McDonnell makes no vetoes to legislation (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Going fast more costly (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell amends 122 bills (Roanoke Times)

19 Baptist pastors criticize McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. Episcopal hierarchy fights to keep church property (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Tea Party Supporters Richer, More Educated Than Most, Poll Finds (FOXNews.com)

AP-GfK Poll: Obama slips, other Dems slide, too (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Poll shows resistance to health care bill rising (AP/GOPUSA.com)

National News

Tea Party leaders on alert for infiltrators (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bunning endorses outsider Paul in Kentucky US Senate race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

RNC chairman: GOP wants to help black community (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Fla. governor Crist might run for Senate as independent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Establishment Terrified by Tea Party Movement (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

GOP Should Push Tough Regulation of Wall Street (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

William Ayers' Wyoming Debacle Highlights Leftist Weaknesses (Christopher G. Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

The Individual Mandate: We're All Amish Now (Jon N. Hall/GOPUSA.com)