Hyde Amendment

Quotes Of The Day: Language Matters

Today is budget day at the General Assembly. The House of Delegates Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, after weeks of work, submitted their budgets earlier this week. Today was the day each chamber debated floor amendments for hours before, finally, coming to their respective budget bills proper for yet more debate and a vote on final passage — and that was after amendments and debate on the "Caboose Bill," which cleans up and modifies the current budget. Budget day is one of the longest days on the floor during session. No other bills are discussed, generally. Today, each chamber got under way at noon and each wrapped up business at 6:00 or a little after. The point is, a lot of talkin' went on today.

In fact, as an aside, it was quite a day for words. This morning, Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) and Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) got into a frustrating debate in committee over the words "and" and "or" in an amendment to HB 1054, a bill that would allow for computer science courses to be counted toward science credit requirements. The surreal and strange is never in short supply at the Virginia General Assembly.

More substantively, statements during the House budget debate by Minority Leader David Toscano (D-57, Charlottesville) and Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-71, Richmond) are of particular note. On one budget amendment, concerning advanced manufacturing of all things, Delegate Toscano had concerns. The responses to his questions of the amendment's floor manager, he apparently thought, were lacking. Not getting the clarity he sought, Delegate Toscano uttered:

"Language means a lot." 

It sure does!

But only when it's convenient for the Left. The statement was devoid of any recognition the the Left has perverted our language, constantly redefining the meaning of timeless institutions. Marriage and parents quickly come to mind. How about life? It's only a life if it's outside the womb, and even then, in some circumstances, that's debatable. Which takes us to Delegate McClellan's remarks.

While most people consider abortion a tragedy, Delegate McClellan has a knack for making not being able to get an abortion sound tragic. She called for the defeat of budget language that would bring Virginia in line with the federal Hyde Amendment restricting Medicaid funding of abortion in Virginia to the rarest of cases, and eliminating it for unborn children diagnosed with abnormalities, calling it . . .

the cruelest amendment. 

Saving a life is "cruel"? I wonder what Webster would say to that.

But that's not all. Far removed from the Holy City of Richmond, in Sochi, Russia, a 23-year-old, sunshine-faced American by the name of David Wise won our country an Olympic gold medal in halfpipe skiing. It so happens that, according the Olympic network NBC that Wise, who was married at 19 and has a child with his wife, is living an

alternative lifestyle.

That's, like, so different, dude! Mollie Hemingway, at The Federalist.com, expounds here.

According to the NBC article ("David Wise’s alternative lifestyle leads to Olympic gold") by Skyler Wilder, Wise's is unusual because:

At only twenty-three years old, he has a wife, Alexander, who was waiting patiently in the crowd, and together they have a two-year-old daughter waiting for them to return to their home in Reno, Nevada.

At such a young age, Wise has the lifestyle of an adult. He wears a Baby Bjorn baby carrier around the house. He also attends church regularly and says he could see himself becoming a pastor a little later down the road.

How weird! But if he was homosexual, I'm sure his "lifestyle" would be normalized by NBC. Which takes us back to abortion and Delegate McClellan. One has to wonder how pro-abortion she and the Left would be if, as they claim, homosexuals are born homosexual, and that it could be detected in the womb. What would they then call "abortion doctors" in those cases? Redefining the language wouldn't be so convenient, then, would it?

 

Family Foundation Supports Pro-Life Budget Amendments

This is a news release put out earlier today by The Family Foundation of Virginia announcing its support of the proposed House of Delegates budget:

Family Foundation Supports Pro-Life Budget Amendments

- Protect taxpayers from funding abortion, Planned Parenthood -

RICHMOND –The Family Foundation of Virginia today expressed support for several amendments to the House of Delegates budget as passed by the Appropriations Committee.

"In an area of serious dissension, the one thing that a majority of Virginians agree on is that taxpayers shouldn't be forced to pay for abortions,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. “The House Appropriations budget amendments simply bring Virginia in line with federal law, protecting taxpayers from funding abortion, and protect us from funding the nation’s $1 billion abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood. Despite its claims of providing health care, Planned Parenthood's budget is funded almost entirely by abortion and the taxpayers."

According to its most recent annual report, the number of cancer screenings done by Planned Parenthood has dropped 39 percent since 2009, while their prenatal care services have dropped 52 percent during the same period. According to the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony's analysis of Planned Parenthood’s annual report, abortion makes up 93.8 percent of Planned Parenthood's pregnancy services.

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 House Appropriations Committee, in an effort to ensure that the Governor can't circumvent the law, included 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 is successful, any efforts by the Governor's office to undermine Virginia's abortion center health and safety law that could cost taxpayers money will be unfunded. While campaigning for Governor, McAuliffe made his infamous proclamation that if elected, he would issue a "guidance opinion" that could stop the enforcement and implementation of Virginia's abortion center health and safety standards. Beyond the fact that a Virginia governor can't issue a "guidance opinion," McAuliffe’s statement revealed his desire to undermine the abortion center standards.

"Abortion center health and safety standards are the law of Virginia," added Cobb. "The Governor shouldn't be able to pick and choose which laws he enforces. The House is trying to ensure that the Governor can't exhibit the same lack of respect for the rule of law already demonstrated by the Attorney General. It’s unfortunate that the budget is one of the few tools available to lawmakers to prevent more lawless actions from the Attorney General or the Governor."

 

House Budget Advances Life; Senate Version, Not So Much

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.

A Perspective That Spans The Tiber To The James

It's about time! Finally, after years of encouragement to do so, today our friends at the Virginia Catholic Conference added a blog to its social media mix. (See its first post, by Associate Director Michael Lewis, on the adoption by the General Assembly of Governor Bob McDonnell's "Veto Session" "Hyde amendment" that bans taxpayer funded abortions in the Obamacare insurance exhchange). It's a good thing, too. There are few more passionately dedicated to the causes of Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty  than our colleagues at the VCC. They are an invaluable ally in the culture wars not only inside Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, but well beyond the gates of Capitol Square. It's an intelligent bunch, as well, and we look forward to their perspective on the crucial issues of the day. According to its announcement of the blog's launch:

Our goal for "From the Tiber to the James" is to provide engaging, thought-provoking posts — respectful of our reader’s busy lives — about why and how we do the work we do, and how our readers can become more involved in advocacy on behalf of the common good.

Attuned readers will not miss the symbolism of the blog’s name: our Faith traces its past, present and future to the Vatican on the banks of the Tiber River. Our daily work — living in the public square — takes us to Virginia’s capital, on the shores of the James.

We look forward to what From the Tiber to the James will add to the public policy debate in the already thriving Virginia Blogosphere. Another culturally conservative voice can always be useful but, in this case, we're confident it will far exceed that basic standard.

The fight to win souls precedes any legislative victory. In this new age of instant digital media, where information is spread at the speed of a few thumb presses, it's important for advocacy organizations to arm themselves with as many assets as possible — and our side has been behind. It's about more than "spreading the word" on Facebook and Twitter (as important as that is). After all, there must be compelling content to spread on Facebook and Twitter. So, it's really about thoughtful, grounded, rational perspective based in something considerably larger than human vanity that resonates even with hearts of stone well before the yeas and nays consistently affirm our foundational principles. 

Congratulations to the Virginia Catholic Conference. We hope you visit From The Tiber To The James as often as we will.

"Incompatible With Life"

Current Virginia law requires the state to pay for elective low-income abortions of unborn children with severe disabilities. This unethical practice requires taxpayers to fund the death of an unborn child after an opinion is given as to his or her value and odds of survival prior to birth. Therefore, The Family Foundation has joined a coalition of pro-life organizations in support of SB 826, a bill patroned by Senator Tom Garrett (R-22, Louisa). By repealing the part of Virginia law forcing taxpayers to pay for non-federally funded abortions, SB 826 brings Virginia in line with the majority of states and with the federal Hyde Amendment — an amendment allowing federal Medicaid funding for abortion only in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother. The Senate Education and Health committee will hear SB 826 this Thursday. Please e-mail the members of the committee today and encourage them to vote yes on the bill and also vote to defeat any unfriendly amendments or efforts to refer the bill to another committee. Last year a similar bill was referred to the Finance Committee where it failed.

Senator Don McEachin (D-9, Henrico), a leader of the pro-abortion agenda, recently commented on SB 826 stating that children with severe disabilities are "incompatible with life." We could not disagree more! Eric and Ruth Brown of Nashville, Tenn., know something about such a term. Their unborn child was diagnosed with holoprosencephlay, a condition where the brain does not fully develop and the child was deemed "incompatible with life." Unwilling to play God, this family now celebrates their 24-week- old daughter, Pearl.

Life is of intrinsic value regardless of the physical or mental challenges a child may encounter. Every child deserves a chance at life. It is vital that pro-life Virginians e-mail the members of the Senate Education and Health committee today to tell them that unlike Senator McEachin’s radical beliefs, no one should be deemed incompatible with life, especially not from the limited information one gains while their child is in the womb. All unborn are worthy of life and should be given the opportunity to be valued members of society.

Pro-abortion advocates have made false allegations to the media in regards to SB 826. The truth is that SB 826 would not ban the abortion of the disabled, but only refuse public funding for them. In FY 2009, the Virginia Department of Health funded 10 abortions that met the disability criteria and spent a total of $2,566.90 doing so. With recent reports that the "non-profit" Planned Parenthood turned a profit of $87.4 million this past year (after receiving $542.4 million in taxpayer dollars), it's perplexing why taxpayers should be asked to foot the bill for the unethical abortion of the disabled. If the abortion industry feels so adamantly that abortions for the disabled should be available, it should pay for them instead of forcing taxpayers (many in violation of their conscience) to pay. Please contact the members of the Senate Education and Health committee today and urge them to support SB 826.

A Lethal Assault Against The Very Idea Of Human Rights That Destroys The Moral Foundation Of Our Democracy

The voice in this video is that of the late Henry Hyde, author of the Hyde Amendment, which for decades with bipartisan support has precluded federal funds for the use of abortion . . . until Obamacare. It is one of the most powerful two minutes you will ever hear. There are no poetic words nor profound phrases possible to enhance or explain his thoughts or his passion. The video was produced by our friends at  FRC Action.

"We risk our souls, we risk our humanity, when we trifle with that innocence or demean it or brutalize it. The supporters of abortion on demand have exercised an amazing capacity of self-deception by detaching themselves from any sympathy whatsoever for the unborn child." 

President Obama And Abortion: Not One Restriction

The following article was written by John McCormack at The Weekly Standard Blog:

At the end of the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan lobbed charges of extremism at one another on the issue of abortion. "The Democratic party used to say they want [abortion] to be safe, legal, and rare," Ryan said. "Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding, taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized or wouldn’t second-guess their one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That, to me, is pretty extreme."

Biden shot back, saying that Ryan has "argued that, in the case of rape or incest, it was still — it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend." Debate moderator Martha Raddatz followed up with Ryan, asking if pro-choice Americans should be "worried" about Romney, but she didn't follow up with Biden.

In the spin room following the debate, I asked top Obama officials, as well as Planned Parenthood chief Cecille Richards, if Obama's position on abortion is as extreme as what Ryan claimed. The Obama campaign denied the president favored abortion without restriction, but top Obama officials Jim Messina, Stephanie Cutter, and David Axelrod could not name a single restriction the president supports.

TWS: Mr Messina, the issue of abortion came up tonight with both sides trying to paint the other as extremist. Can you say, are there any restrictions that the president supports at any stage of pregnancy on the issue of abortion?

MESSINA: Look, we have been absolute[ly] clear. I think as you saw an absolute difference between the president and Romney on this. Romney’s position has been on four different sides. But I take him at his word that he says he will be happy to sign a bill outlawing all abortions in the United States of America. That’s not our position that’s not where the American public is. And I think it’s going to be a very difficult position for them to defend in the battleground states. Swing women voters in places like Colorado and Virginia looked at that exchange tonight that you talked about and said we cannot support this guy.

TWS: So the president doesn’t support any restrictions on abortion?

MESSINA: Look, we’ve been very clear. You know our position on abortion.

TWS: No. I asked, can you say what it is?

MESSINA: Look, don’t put words in my mouth. I’ve been very clear about our position. And that’s what it is.

TWS: Can you name one restriction?

Messina ended the exchange and moved on to another question.

Stephanie Cutter also said Obama supports some restrictions on abortion, but wouldn't say what they were:

TWS: Are there any restrictions he supports at any stage of pregnancy? Or there's no restrictions whatsover? Is that the president's position?

CUTTER: No, that’s not his position.

TWS: Then can you name one restriction that he supports on abortion?

CUTTER: He has several votes on this. We can get them to you.

David Axelrod similarly ducked questions. So I turned to Cecille Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood. "There already are restrictions on the books," she told me. But does the president support any of them? Richards said she didn't know. "I haven’t spoken to him about those," she replied.

In 2003, Barack Obama was asked if he was "all situations including the late term thing?" He answered in the affirmative.

The record doesn't appear to show that the president has ever supported any restriction on abortion. He opposes the Hyde amendment, which means he favors taxpayer funding of abortion. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion. And he opposed parental consent laws. We'll let you know if the Obama team is able to come up with any evidence showing that Obama's position is anything short of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.

"Compromise"

Language is of utter importance in life. It is how we convey to family, friends, co-workers and everyone else everything from the mundane but necessary to entertaining stories to important tasks at work to essential words of life and love to those special to us. Words do mean things. It is no different in a political and cultural context. How words are conveyed motivate, inspire and convince minds to points of view. But it's a lot different if words that have been understood to mean a thing certain, that have a standard essence can be distorted are redefined. It changes the entire debate, which is exactly what the Left wants, because it can't get what it wants in a straightforward debate. It recognizes that America is a center-right nation and the only way to advance its agenda is to transform the meanings of well understood and traditional terms.

"Marriage" is the most recent and prominent example. It is desperately trying to change what historically and culturally is universally recognized as a union between one man and one woman to devalue the foundation of civilization itself. But not only is the redefinition of words necessary for the adoption of the Left's ideas, it is the precursor to enforcing its intolerance.

It isn't only words of immense cultural importance, such as "Marriage." No word is too unimportant for the Left to redefine — it also has it in for such seemingly innocuous words such "compromise." That is the word the Obama administration used when it said it was changing its authoritarian Obamacare mandate that religious institutions provide contraception and abortion insurance coverage for their employees in contravention of their religious beliefs and First Amendment rights, to a new authoritarian mandate, with different wording, that left the slimmest of exceptions to avoid providing for such insurance.

The "compromise" stated that not institutions with a religious-only mission could avoid the mandate — presumably, the churches themselves. But the federal government would be the arbiter of that — religion defined by the government. (Separation of church and state, anyone? The hypocritical Left.) However, institutions administered by churches, such as hospitals and schools, would not be allowed to exempt themselves from the mandate.

Some "compromise." First, there is no compromise. The policy is virtually the same. Secondly, to compromise, it takes more than one party. But the Catholic Church, whose Bishops by and large endorsed Obamacare with what it thought was conscience clause and Hyde Amendment-type protections, and other concerned organizations, nor their Congressional allies, were brought in by the White House for discussions. It was a "compromise" with itself to provide misleading cover for the policy aims it knows are unacceptable.

That's why yesterday, 43 Catholic colleges and organizations, some of which already said they will cease providing health insurance or shut down the vital services they provide, filed a lawsuit against the administration (see Jill Stanek's in-depth report here). (By the way, some of these institutions previously announced they will end health care coverage because they can't afford the exorbitant rate increases affected by Obamacare. Obamacare — if it doesn't get you by increased costs, it will get you by authoritarian mandate.)

There's more information about the lawsuit here, from The Virginia Catholic Conference and here, from the Catholic News Service.

Religious liberty has never been a favorite of the Left. How can it be? The Church stands against moral relativism, the basis for modern liberalism. There are no standards or absolutes according the Left. That is, until, it redefines "standards" and "absolutes."

Support Governor McDonnell's Pro-Life Amendment To Health Exchange Bill

Last week, Governor Bob McDonnell added a pro-life amendment to an ObamaCare induced bill — Delegate Terry Kilgore's HB 2434, that directs the Commonwealth to set up health insurance exchanges in accordance with the new law. (Under ObamaCare, if states don't act to establish their own exchanges and rules, the federal government will do ti for them.) The governor's amendment would restrict the proposed and mandated health insurance exchanges from covering abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Without such change to the bill, pro-life citizens will be coerced into funding the unethical destruction of human life. His amendment also would prohibit insurance companies from selling optional riders that cover those same abortion services. Typically, NARAL went ballistic (see the Washington Post VIrginia Politics Blog, a Post news article and the Richmond Times-Dispatch; we're quoted in all three), although the amendment reflects decades-old federal policy under the Hyde Amendment. Now, the General Assembly must accept the governor's amendment at next Wednesday's veto session. During this year's General Assembly session, similar health insurance abortion funding opt-out language was passed by the House of Delegates twice with overwhelming majorities, but was defeated in the Senate. The Senate voted on a procedural motion, at the end of session, to strike a bill almost identical to Governor McDonnell’s language. It succeeded on a 22-18 party line vote. Since the governor's language strictly is a policy vote, not a procedural vote, we hope to urge at least two pro-life Democrats to support the amendment.

Of course, this is nothing new. Whether it is a widely-passed bipartisan House bill or a governor's amendment, the Senate remains the body that blocks nearly every pro-life effort, and has done so for several years. Over the last several days, The Family Foundation has mobilized citizens across Virginia to contact key senators so that they know Virginians want this amendment passed. It is clear that it will not be until the Senate reflects the values of Virginia that we will see many victories. The opportunity to make those changes is quickly approaching, as all 40 Senate seats are up for election in November.

We believe the key to sustaining the amendment lies with five key senators: Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian), Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell). Contact these senators now and urge them to vote yes on Governor McDonnell's abortion funding opt-out amendment for health insurance exchanges on HB 2434.

You can contact them by calling their district offices (numbers below) or by clicking on their names for their e-mail addresses:

Senator Quayle: 757-483-9173

Senator Watkins: 804-379-2063

Senator Reynolds: 276-638-2315

Senator Colgan: 703-368-0300

Senator Puckett: 276-979-8181

Victory For Life: Dem Controlled Senate Agrees To End Taxpayer Funded Elective Abortions!

Late last night (after 9:00), life advocates achieved a significant policy and historic victory when the Democrat controlled Virginia Senate concurred with the House of Delegates on Governor Bob McDonnell's budget amendment eliminating elective, taxpayer funded abortions by a dramatic 20-19 vote (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)! Despite Icelandic volcanic eruptions, a pro-life senator's personal travel conflicts, and outright lies from pro-abortion legislative leaders and opponents, Virginia finally adopted provisions of the federal Hyde Amendment — enacted in 1982! — to de-fund state dollars from use in low-income, elective abortions. The Family Foundation and our pro-life allies have been working for decades to achieve this victory and, despite all odds, life triumphed. The amendment brings Virginia substantially in line with federal law that requires we pay for abortions only in the instances of rape, incest or life of the mother (see Washington Post). Prior to the governor's amendment, Virginia was one of only 17 states that funded elective ("health" of the mother) abortions. Other than in cases of "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or with a gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency," this will no longer be the case (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). We gratefully thank Governor McDonnell for introducing this important pro-life amendment and  all the delegates and senators who voted for it.

Here's how it happened:

The day began early in the morning as legislators and lobbyists flooded the capitol. While confident of a win in the House, the Senate vote was on a knife's edge. That chamber is almost evenly divided politically (22 Democrats and 18 Republicans), but with two pro-life Democrats. A 20-20 tie with would be broken by pro-life Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. But in something not remotely seen in anyone's memory, the Lt. Governor was stranded in Italy, after completing an economic development mission last week, due to the well publicized  volcanic ash cloud — and tie votes kill bills and amendments.

To make matters worse, pro-life Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest), had a flight to catch on personal business and as session dragged on through the afternoon — mainly on technical amendments on non-budget bills — it became apparent he would have to leave before the vote on the elective abortion funding amendment came up. Another vote had to be found. 

Meanwhile, the House did its part during the afternoon by agreeing to the amendment 64 to 30 (see vote here). It received bipartisan support — about a fifth of Democrats voting voted for it, including those from rural, suburban and rural areas.

Back in the Senate, the amendment (technically, "Governor's recommendation #91") didn't come to the floor until 9:00 p.m. Majority Leader Senator Dick Saslaw (D-35, Fairfax) unloaded one of his typical "Saslawstic" comments, firing full bore against the amendment. In a bizarre statement, and in contradiction to a legal opinion from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, opposition lawmakers claimed that if the amendment passed, state employee abortions would no longer be covered by the state health plan. But state employees cannot be reimbursed for abortion expenses anyway, so the claim is unfounded. 

The one and only senator countering the deception was Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), who articulately defended the amendment from the bizarre attacks and argued brilliantly for its passage. Then, in a moment that directly parallels the Bible story of Gideon’s army, where the odds of victory were logically impossible, the vote was taken — and when the electronic board lit up, the total read: 20 yeas, 19 nays! Joining pro-life Democrat Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) was Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville) and the 17 Republicans in attendance. Long odds made longer with two key absences were overcome and the victory long sought by pro-life advocates was a reality (see vote here).

The Family Foundation would like to thank everyone who contacted legislators to encourage them to vote for this amendment. As the close vote shows, your voice was crucial in this success. We will post information in the coming days to assist you in thanking the important people who made this victory possible. In the meantime, we hope you will celebrate this monumental victory for life and truly meaningful change for the better.

Quote Of The Day

The House of Delegates just sustained Governor Bob McDonnell's budget amendment to eliminate taxpayer funding of elective abortions, an amendment that puts Virginia in line with the majority of the states, the federal government's Hyde Amendment and President Obama's recent executive order prohibiting federal funding of abortions. The measure received 64 votes. During the floor debate, Delegate Jennifer L. McClellan (D-71, Richmond) said, "some issues" shouldn't be seen "as black and white." When recognized on the floor to respond, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Campbell), speaking in favor of the amendment, said:

Instead of looking at issues as black and white, we should look at them as life and death.

Make No Mistake: Abortion Coverage IS IN The Government Run Health Care Bill

Courtesy of our friends at the Family Research Council, below are eight documented facts about the inclusion of abortion funding or mandates in the so-called health care "reform" bill. You can click here, as well, to get them in a PDF document.

Eight Reasons Abortion Is in the Health Care Overhaul

1. The legislation specifically includes it. The President’s bill to amend the Senate bill leaves several abortion provisions in place. In Section 1303 it allows tax credit subsidies for plans that include abortion and leaves the abortion surcharge in place. It maintains the proposal to create a multi-state plan that includes abortion in Sec. 1334. Even worse, it would increase the Senate bill funding from $7 billion to $11 billion for community health centers in Sec. 10503 without any abortion funding restrictions. (H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.)

2. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said it is. "And I would say that the Senate language, which was negotiated by Senators Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, who are very strong defenders of women’s health services and choices for women, take a big step forward from where the House left it with the Stupak amendment, and I think do a good job making sure there are choices for women. ... That would be an accounting procedure, but everybody in the exchange would do the same thing, whether you’re male or female, whether you’re 75 or 25, you would all set aside a portion of your premium that would go into a fund." (HotAir.com: "Sebelius: Everyone will pay into abortion-coverage fund".)

3. Senate Democrats refused to ban it. Instead of allowing for an up or down vote on a Senate amendment similar to the Stupak Amendment in the House which bans federal funding of abortion, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) "tabled" the amendment, effectively killing it. This was the only amendment dealt with in this way. (Vote No. 369 S.Amdt. 2962 to S.Amdt. 2786 to H.R. 3590.)

4. House Pro-life Democrats, who support a government takeover, say it is. "The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable." (U.S. Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), February 23, 2010, CBS News) … "I think abortion’s wrong. The problem is that I’ve lived too long. When they say they can keep this money separate, I just don’t believe it." (U.S. Representative Marion Berry (D-Ark.), March 6, 2010, Arkansas News.)

5. House Pro-abortion Democrats say it is. "The good news is that the Senate bill does allow [abortion coverage]," (Chairwoman of the House pro-abortion caucus, Dianne DeGette (D-Colo.), March 5, 2010, Washington Post.)

6. The Abortion industry has sent out alerts in favor of it. The abortion giant Planned Parenthood sent out alerts on March 6, 2010: "President Obama’s health care reform proposal would make a real difference for the women and families who rely on Planned Parenthood. . . . and [the bill] significantly increase access to reproductive health care." (Planned Parenthood alert, March 6, 2010.)

7. Candidate Obama said it would be included, and the Obama administration includes it in its definition of reproductive health care. Presidential candidate Barack Obama stated he "believes that reproductive health care is basic health care." (Rhealitycheck.org questionnaire, 2008.) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up on this in 2009: "Reproductive health care includes access to abortion." (The Cloakroom Blog: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, April 22, House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing.")

8. House Democratic Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has indicated he wants to "fix" the abortion coverage problem in the Senate bill. "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday that lawmakers could draft separate pieces of legislation with abortion language to earn the support of anti-abortion rights Democrats on healthcare reform legislation." (March 4, 2010: The Briefing Room, The Hill's blog.)

But if those eight facts aren't enough to convince your "pro-life" friends who are convinced that anything out of "the annointed one's" mouth is truth, or just can't bring themselves to doubt such "moderate" and "Blue Dog Democrats" such as U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) or our own Mark Warner, here's 12 more facts and reasons, courtesy of The Cloakroom.

Still not sure? Then check out FRC Action’s resource page: "Standing Against the Government Takeover of Health Care," as well as why the Hyde Amendment does not apply to the current bill: "Q and A: Government Health Care and Abortion." Please disseminate this information by using the share program, e-mailing this link to friends and/or posting it to your own social networking sites.

Senator Webb Says He's Undecided On The Health Care Bill

Senator Jim Webb, Virginia's senior senator, wrote an op-ed piece of the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record in which he says he is undecided (see here) on which way he will vote when it comes time for the final, up or down, yea or nay. He takes pride in the handful of votes he has cast in opposition to his party's leaders, but then offers this on perhaps the most controversial part of the bill:

On the issue of abortion, I studied the bill closely to ensure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortions. I am convinced that this legislation strictly adheres to the requirements of the Hyde Amendment. It also includes clear conscience provisions for providers and consumers who elect to reject a plan that offers such coverage.

Most pro-life policy analysts don't think that's right, and Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) doesn't think so, either (see David Brody of the CBN Blog). But Senator Webb ends with this statement that can be taken in no other way in that he is undecided on the entire piece of legislation:

As we continue to debate the bill and amend it, I remain hopeful that the Senate can reach consensus on fair and effective health care legislation. Whether this is so will determine my vote on final passage.

Fair enough, to the senator. So, then, why don't we convince him what way he should finally conclude his thinking? Click here to contact him.

More On Life From Nat Hentoff

As we posted last week, liberal and pro-life columnist Nat Hentoff wrote an insightful column about liberal politicians' pro-abortion views. That column ("Democrats and abortion") is very well worth the read (click here). This week, he's followed up with another brilliant piece ("Abortion wars crescendo")  which we cannot  recommend highly enough for you to read as well (click here). In it, Hentoff highlights some astounding — and very unfortunate — shifts in the Democrats' national platform. In a telling sign of just how far left those who controlled the levers of power at its convention are, the party even eliminated the Bill Clinton abortion platform plank of "safe, legal and rare." (Wonder if Hillary would've left that in?)

It also is "strongly and unequivocally" supportive of Roe v. Wade and opposes  any attempts to "weaken or undermine it." (Which shows more than a sad policy position. It shows weakness and hypocrisy at best, and ignorance at worst. Most liberals think an overturn of Roe would ban abortions. It would not. It would return the decisions to the states. If the country is so supportive of abortion on demand, what are pro-aborts afraid of? A little democracy? Why so afraid of a little voting here and there?)

Here are some other jaw droppers from Hentoff: 

» Barack Obama is a co-sponsor of the "Freedom of Choice Act" that would make partial-birth abortion legal, contrary to a Supreme Court decision. (Why is it okay for pro-aborts to try to change a Supreme Court decision, but not for pro-lifers?)

» For you libertarians who don't think abortion is an issue, Obama is leading the way repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. (Joe Biden also supports taxpayer funding of abortion despite what he said to Tom Brokow per his September 7 Meet The Press interview. Click here for the record. In fact, Hentoff notes from The Nation, that Biden has a perfect 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood.)

» Obama voted in the Illinois Senate to block a bill requiring the notification of at least one parent of a minor from another state seeking an abortion in Illinois.

» The well know fact, by now, that Obama voted to deny life-saving treatment to babies born despite surviving an abortion.

» Hentoff cites from an August 24 Washington Times editorial, "Planned Parenthood Targets Blacks," (read here) that one-third of all its abortions in 2007 were performed on blacks and a majority of its facilities are in minority neighborhoods.

Speaking of Planned Parenthood's apparent racial profiling, Hentoff ends by citing a black leader, a prominent Democrat, who once was fiercely eloquent in his defense of life. Until he, too, ran for president. Said this man several years ago:

"Don't let the pro-choicers convince you that a fetus isn't a human being. That's how the whites dehumanized us. ... The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify that which they wanted to do and not even feel like they had done anything wrong."

That man is the Reverend Jesse Jackson.