NARAL

At 12 Weeks Babies Have . . .

I met a woman during last fall's campaign who, upon overhearing me and a self-styled libertarian friend of mine talking about abortion, interjected with the trite, "It's better to have legal abortion than have to pay taxes to care for all of the babies whose mothers can't provide for them." Sure — and with that logic, why not kill anyone who lives in poverty? We're paying taxes to support them, too, are we not? Where do you draw the line? Another woman once told me she didn't approve of abortion, but thought it should be legal during the first trimester. What, I asked her, is significantly different about an unborn baby at two months and 29 days than at three months? Isn't that an arbitrary time frame conceived by seven men (of all people) who decided to overturn abortion bans in Roe v. Wade? She admitted she had to rethink her position.

That made sense to her (another self-styled libertarian). But neither logic nor science matter to the Left. It subsists on shallow talking points that are designed to make them feel smart and which, once they ride them to the limited depth of their capacity, resort to name calling, raw emotion, fear and straw men. Thus, the contrived "War On Women," which really is a War On Babies.

They try to depict Christians as uneducated rubes who deny science, yet they fight with all vigor to prohibit ultrasound tests; they clamor for "choice" but deny women the opportunity to make an informed decision. Which brings me to the latest controversy, which should shed light on the bankruptcy of the abortion industry's arguments.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL both jumped down the throat of a pro-life politician who sarcastically referred to pregnant women with a term they use. They said his language was degrading and said mothers should be treated with respect — making a point they don't even agree with which, most telling, admitted what they always deny:

That pregnant women are mothers!

Brilliant! Thank you abortion industry! Maybe it will learn logic soon enough.

Photo: Every child deserves a chance to sing! LIKE and SHARE!

End the silencing of not only their voices, but their lives. (H/T National Pro-Life Alliance.)

Tomorrow Is Your Chance To Stand Up To Virginia's $1 Billion Abortion Industry!

When does David get to face off against Goliath on equal terms? In our democratic process. Tomorrow, at the Virginia Board of Health meeting. That's when volunteer, pro-life grassroots activists will have their chance to express their support for abortion center safety standards in the face of Virginia's $1 billion abortion industry, which is mobilizing college students and protestors to flood the meeting in hopes of intimidating the Board into watering down the proposed health and safety standards.

Of course, Planned Parenthood and NARAL are counting on your silence. If there's any doubt as to what their ultimate, ghastly aims are, please see this video of a Planned Parenthood lobbyist.

Please do all you can to join us Friday and show that we are the voice of Virginia. We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority! This could be a seminal day in the pro-life movement in Virginia.

By voting to adopt the standards tomorrow, the Board will ensure that Virginia's abortion centers will be required to meet basic health and safety standards and will no longer be protected by a veil of secrecy. Showing up and voicing your support of these new standards is extremely important in the fight for life as it is crucial the Board see and hear from pro-life Virginians when deciding on final passage of the regulations.

Please plan to join us tomorrow and forward this link to your pro-life friends and share it on your social media sites. Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, 23233) at 7:00 a.m. (earlier if possible) to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. Seating is very limited, so not everyone will be able to get into the meeting, which is why it's important to arrive early. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. The public comment period will be in the morning, so if you want to speak in support of the regulations, please prepare a two-minute testimony (you cannot testify if you are not in the room, so you have to be there early to get in line). A final vote will likely take place after lunch, and the meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00.

For a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Board meeting, click here. Please contact The Family Foundation if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

The regulations, passed by the Board this past September, would promote safer conditions in Virginia abortion centers, resulting in a higher level of respect and dignity for the women who make the unfortunate choice to get an abortion. Since the announced inspections of Virginia's 20 abortion centers, more than 100 health violations have been discovered. Some of these include:

» Blood-stained tables and equipment

» Unsterilized equipment

» Untrained staff members

» Crucial parts missing from emergency life-saving equipment

You can read more about the grisly findings here.

Voicing your support of these new standards is imperative. Please join us at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond tomorrow. Do not let NARAL and Planned Parenthood speak for Virginians in your silence. Make it known that Virginia is a pro-life state!

Of course, if you cannot attend the meeting, please take time today and tomorrow to pray for the meeting, the outcome, the Board members and for the safety and protection of pro-life activists in attendance.

Stand For Life At Friday’s Board Of Health Meeting!

Join us this Friday at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond, where it will decide whether or not to adopt the abortion center safety standards made possible by legislation passed at the 2011 General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell. Pro-life Virginians must attend and show that we are the voice of Virginia! There was, of course, a Board of Health meeting last September, where we mobilized a terrific turnout as the Board voted to pass the standards, so there may be some confusion as to why it is meeting again and why we another turnout of pro-life Virginians. Quite simply, the regulatory process is arduous, consisting of many votes, executive branch review, and public comment periods. So while we considered the September vote a major success, we cannot let up until the standards are completely finalized by the Board.

Showing up and voicing your support of these new standards is extremely important in the fight for life. It is crucial the Board see and hear from pro-life Virginians when deciding on final passage of the safety standards. We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority.

Please plan to join us this Friday, April 12. Please forward this link to your pro-life friends and share it on your social media sites.

Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, Va. 23233) at 7:00 a.m. to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. Seating is very limited, so not everyone will be able to get into the meeting. That's why it's important to arrive early. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. There is likely to be a public comment period, so if you want to speak in support of the regulations, please prepare a two-minute testimony. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00 p.m. Depending on when the vote is held, it may become a day-long event.

For a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Board meeting, click here. Please contact The Family Foundation if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

The safety standards, as passed by the Board last September, would promote safer conditions in Virginia abortion centers, resulting in a higher level of respect and dignity for the women who make the unfortunate choice to get an abortion. Since the announced inspections of Virginia's 20 abortion centers — inspections that were part of the temporary rules passed by the Board, and the first inspections of abortion centers in decades — more than 100 health violations have been discovered. Some of these include:

» Blood-stained tables and vials

» Unsterilized equipment

» Untrained staff members

» Crucial parts missing from emergency life-saving equipment

The Family Foundation recently released new violations that have been found just since June. One report from the Roanoke Medical Center states that:

Staff used . . . a sponge to clean the procedure jars and failed to disinfect procedure jars and stoppers between patients . . . failure to disinfect three (3) of three recovery cots between patients and one (1) of one lab chair . . . observation revealed one of the vacutainer needle holders had visible dark red splatter within the hub, which attached to the needle to draw the patient's blood.

This is just one example of why these standards are needed more than ever. Americans expect to undergo a medical procedure in a sterile environment with trained doctors and nurses. Why is the same standard not met for women who choose abortion?

Voicing your support of these new standards is imperative! Please join us at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond on April 12. Do not let NARAL and Planned Parenthood speak for you in your silence!

Counter The Pro-Abortion Rally Today With A Few Computer Clicks!

We are still receiving heartwarming comments about the Virginia Stands For Life Gathering that we co-hosted with more than two-dozen state and national pro-life organizations on the first day of the 2013 General Assembly session. Grassroots activists and legislators alike have told us how important it was for us to have a presence in Richmond and remind lawmakers we are the majority in Virginia. We also know that a one-day show of strength is not enough. The other side is relentless in its hysteria to contrive the image, with the help from its allies in the media, that it is the majority. Not only did its minuscule “counter protest” to our 1,000-person gathering gain just as much media attention, but it is holding its “lobby day” at the capitol today to further the perception that Virginians favor abortion.

However, you can combat those efforts with a few simple strokes of your computer! Please e-mail your senator and delegate a pro-life message, urging them to stand for life this session! Thank them for their previous pro-life votes. Or politely urge them to reconsider their opinions if they have not voted pro-life in the past. Nothing would be better than for senators and delegates to be flooded with pro-life messages this morning before a Planned Parenthood or NARAL representative even shows up at their office door! If you could not attend our Gathering for Life, this is your chance to impact your legislators. If you did attend, consider this leveraging your voice with them.

Simply click the links below to find your senator's and delegate's e-mail address, and send them a short, thoughtful, note. Consider this our virtual lobby day! Then, check your e-mail box, our Facebook and Twitter pages, and blog, for the latest news and features about all the fast moving events at the General Assembly the mainstream media does not cover. We’re getting a record numbers of hits . . . it’s just like being here!

If you’d like to do more, we are hosting a Life Outreach and Compassionate Response event at the capitol today in response to the pro-abortion rally. For more information about attending, please click here.

Senate e-mail list 

House of Delegates e-mail list 

Attacks Continue On Pregnancy Care Centers

Thursday morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in which Virginia resides, heard oral arguments in two cases from Maryland concerning the unnecessary and unconstitutional regulation of pregnancy care centers. The cases stem from regulations passed in Baltimore and Montgomery County, that require PCCs to post signs and have personnel tell clients that they don't perform abortions, among other things. Essentially, it is the government compelling people in their private conversations to say specific things, a blatant violation of first amendment freedoms, which is likely why the PCCs have won in every court case so far, including an earlier 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel in the Fourth Circuit. Attorneys for the PCCs said this would be a first of its kind violation of free speech if it's upheld in the courts.

But as we know in Virginia, the abortion industry's visceral hatred for anything that competes with its bottom line or offers an alternative to abortion is met with harassment and hostility. You may recall the effort by the abortion industry to regulate PCCs in Virginia just two years ago; an effort based on an "investigative report" by NARAL that was so void of fact or academic rigor that, after two hours of testimony by PCC leaders and clients, the patron of the legislation that would have regulated PCCs, Dr. Ralph Northam, a Democrat senator from Norfolk now running for lieutenant governor, asked that the subcommittee to defeat his own bill! How anyone can take NARAL's word on anything after that day is simply mind boggling.

But truth, facts and logic are no obstacle for the abortion industry. The mainstream media is so sympathetic to its cause that it can't bring itself to report about the bloody exam tables at abortion centers but is more than happy to complain that PCCs don't offer abortion. Consequently, these battles for life are bound to continue. In fact, PCCs are not health care facilities at all and don't do medical procedures, but offer counseling and support services, and referrals to doctors and medical facilities.

The cases should be decided by the court in the next eight to 10 weeks. The cases were heard "en banc," or by the full court, and those present didn't see any clear indication from all the judges on which way the case will go.

After the hearing, we were thrilled to co-host a brief luncheon with Americans United for Life for several of the attorneys involved in the case and pro-life advocates. As always, we are so very grateful to AUL and the Alliance Defending Freedom for their advocacy on behalf of life, and all their great work. We are honored to have such Godly and capable partners in this work!

The Real Gender Gap

As the Democrat convention begins in Charlotte, N.C., today, the rhetoric is flying fast and furious from the abortion industry, its apologists in the media and the Obama campaign. Its primary message is, of course, the so-called "war on women," which in this case means anything that limits the industry's profits from ending the lives of unborn children. If the abortion-related commercials the Obama campaign is airing in Virginia are any indication, facts and reality are not going to be part of their message. As a woman, I'm embarrassed that anyone of my sex would be so naïve as to fall for such partisan drivel, and allow themselves to be reduced to nothing more than a token of political gamesmanship.

But while the Democrat Party plans to parade the abortion industry's most partisan radicals across its stage this week — from Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood to Nancy Keenan of NARAL to Sandra Fluke, famous for demanding that others pay for her sex life — whose messages will no doubt have the national media tripping over themselves with delight, there's another story coming out of Charlotte that has some feminist leaders a bit flummoxed. Apparently, for the DNC, it might be all about the 'women," but that is apparently limited to the women without children.

You see, the Democrat Party has a new rule that prohibits children from its convention, which has even the most ardent feminists in a tizzy. Some chapters of the National Organization of Women have sent a tersely worded letter to Democrat leaders chastising them for the rule. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem put it bluntly: "It is both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist."

At least the ones lucky enough to have been a "choice" their mothers can live with.

Planned Parenthood protestors at the Republican convention in Tampa, however, seem just fine with the no kids rule. One lamented that Republican women are just "baby making machines" and "have so many kids," and others who dismissed women who might vote for a Republican as just doing "what their husbands and preachers" tell them to do. (Explicit language warning: Watch video here at the Media Research Center).

All this comes on the heels of several polls regarding the so-called "gender gap" showing that President Obama holds a commanding lead with single women without children, but that gap disappears among married women with children. Some are calling it the "marriage gap."

That should come as no surprise to anyone. Obviously, as we get married and have children, priorities change. Generally, we begin putting others, especially our families, ahead of ourselves. It's called growing up. Some do so even before marriage, but for others it requires more time, and the introduction of responsibility for others.

Which is why, once again, despite all the rhetoric coming from both parties, both campaigns, and some pundits, this election isn't completely about economics. It's about families.

That's something the Democrat Party simply doesn't understand. But, if Republicans want to take advantage, they better start recognizing it as well.

Stand For Life At The Board Of Health Meeting

On Friday, September 14, the Virginia State Board of Health will reconvene in Richmond to vote once again on the proposed permanent abortion center safety standards to replace the current interim regulations. Will you clear your calendar to be present and invite your pro-life friends to this crucial meeting? The implications of non-mobilization are drastic. Can I be so bold as to ask that if you have prior plans to reschedule them so that you can be in attendance? We need to mobilize hundreds of pro-life Virginians at this meeting to show the Board of Health, the media, elected officials, and the electorate that we are pro-life, we are passionate, and we are the majority. Once the Board of Health adopts the regulations Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli again will review them for "certification," ensuring that they line up with constitutional and Virginia Code requirements. You may remember the craziness that ensued at the June Board meeting and the changes the Board made to the regulations, for which they have no authority. That action necessitated this additional meeting.

Pro-abortion activists see this as their final shot at preventing commonsense safety standards from being implemented at abortion centers and they are doing everything they can to derail the regulations. One pro-abortion organization has even gone so far as to call for the recusal of one of the Board members, stating that "his religious and personal views should not affect the women of Virginia and their access to healthcare." This is the pro-abortion movement's unabashed attempt to silence those who dare exercise their faith in the public square.

Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion groups have told their members to show up at the Board of Health meeting at 7:30 a.m. in order to guarantee themselves a seat in the "seating-is-limited" board room and to block pro-life attendees from equal participation. Pro-abortion activists are hoping for a repeat of the last board meeting at which their angry outbursts, hissing and booing disrupted the meeting (see picture below) and temporarily prevented the abortion center safety regulations from passing. We will not let this happen again!

We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority. Please, add Friday, September 14 to your calendar and forward this e-mail to your pro-life friends. Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, Va., 23233) at 7:30 a.m. to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00 p.m., so depending on when the vote is held, this may become a day-long event. Please contact us if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

Thank you in advance for your attendance and for your willingness to stand in support of life. Together, we look forward to the coming day when Virginia will have permanent health and safety standards for the abortion industry for the first time in more than two decades. We are confident that those regulations will be the strongest possible.

Planned Parenthood Vs. Religious Liberty

As we told you last week, this Friday, the Virginia State Board of Health will vote to finalize permanent safety standards for Virginia’s abortion centers. Since the start of the effort to finally bring some level of health and safety to these facilities, the largest entity in the abortion industry — Planned Parenthood — has claimed that upgrading their facilities to meet minimum safety standards would be too costly. I guess it's all about where you spend your money.

Interestingly, today, the people of North Dakota will vote on an amendment to their state constitution that protects religious liberty and would ensure that faith-based organizations that faithfully and effectively provide services to the poor, needy, underserved and orphaned are not discriminated against by the state.

And guess what organization is the largest single financial contributor to the opposition to the amendment?

Planned Parenthood. To the tune of $1 million!

To put that in perspective, the ACLU has given one-tenth that amount and the largest individual donation from an actual citizen of North Dakota is $1,000.

NARAL, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and other radically secular and pro-abortion groups are also working to oppose religious freedom, but not nearly to the level of Planned Parenthood. Of course, Planned Parenthood has a budget of over $1 billion (a third of which comes from you, the taxpayer) to throw around.

Unfortunately, it appears unwilling to spend some of that money toward improving health standards at its abortion centers in Virginia, or elsewhere, but instead are spending it on opposing religious liberty.

This effort exposes Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry as being just as anti-religious liberty as their leftist friends. One of their primary targets has been faith-based pregnancy resource centers that offer alternatives to abortion, real support for women in crisis, and life-affirming counseling. They are the biggest threat to the abortion industry's bottom line, and Planned Parenthood has sought to shut these facilities down all over the country, including here in Virginia.

Interestingly, opponents have also argued that the amendment would allow "conservative church entities to opt out of anti-discrimination laws and other legislation intended to advance the public good" (anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation). Yet, we've been told over and over again in Virginia by supporters of so-called anti-discrimination laws that churches and religious organizations are safe and not their target.

Not that we believed them.

Please pray for the people of North Dakota today as they vote on this important — and precedent-setting amendment.

Just Learned: N.Va. Woman Rushed To Hospital Last Month After Botched Abortion

Steven Ertelt, editor of LifeNews.com, and one of Planned Parenthood's 10 most hated people, broke a story last night that flew through cyberspace at Twitter speed, which is how I became aware of it. It concerns a 35-year old diabetic woman who suffered heavy bleeding after a failed abortion on March 3 at Nova Women's Healthcare in Fairfax County (see article). The news came to light after investigative work by Operation Rescue, which had plenty of reason for concern about the abortion center, which is still  operated by Mi Yong Kim, even though she is at the center of several previous botched abortions and  surrendered her license in 2007. In fact, a long series of abortion injuries and standard of care violations at her abortion center go back as far as 1998 and include deaths women in 2002 and 2005 from botched abortions. The 2005 death resulted from an improper sedation and subsequent cardiac arrest. Kim did not attempt to resuscitate her. In 2007, the health board concluded she did not perform proper followups with her patients and in 2009 she and the abortion center were sued, according to the article . . .

for conducting an abortion on a woman with an ectopic pregnancy. The patient was told the abortion was successful and sent home. The ectopic pregnancy later ruptured and caused a painful, life-threatening emergency for the woman.

Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, told LifeNews.com:

There can be no doubt that Kim's policies and procedures . . . are in place at Nova and are endangering the lives and health of women every day. She has no business operating any kind of facility. We are filing complaints and urging the medical board and the health department to step in and close the clinic on an emergency basis in the interest of public safety.

Operation Rescue was at the abortion center when the ambulance arrived to take Kim's latest victim to the hospital and video taped it. It then, through Freedom of Information Act requests, secured the audio of the 911 one call (see below).

Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the abortion industry call abortion "one of the safest medical procedures." But this is only one abortion center. Imagine the aggregate number of emergencies, injuries and deaths to women, not to mention the unborn children. Yet, we still hear the howls of indignation over abortion center regulations. How can abortion proponents in good conscience defend self-governance by these abortion centers when more and more of these instances are coming to light?

Furthermore, where are the mainstream media, political pundits and activists who were all over the news during the General Assembly? If the media devoted even five percent of its coverage to this story as it did to the ultrasound bill, maybe it wouldn't have taken a chance viewing on Twitter for me to hear about this. Sad but true: We will hear more about these injuries and deaths eventually; but to hear about them they have to happen. As long as there are determined abortionists willing to skirt abortion center safety regulations, at any risk, they will indeed continue to happen.

Another botched abortion, another ignoring of it by abortion-on-demand apologists and the media. Besides, there's no need for abortion center regulations, right?

Targeting Of ALEC Proves Far Left Is Out To Silence Conservatives Not Only On "Social Issues"

Many probably hoped that after the General Assembly left town for a few weeks, cooler heads would prevail and the left's hysteria would settle down a bit. Those of us who have been around here very long recognized just how unlikely that would be. So now it's House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) who is in the cross-hairs of the far-left and their media allies. At a press conference this week regarding Virginia's high business climate rankings, the liberal machine continued its attacks on anything conservative. Now, the new attack line in Richmond is that Republicans are part of some kind of vast conspiracy of ideology and policy being led by a stealth-like corporate organization with a scary name: the American Legislative Exchange Council. After the press event's formal question and answer period ended, a liberal with something called ProgressVA approached the Speaker and  pushed him on his comments. Speaker Howell responded in a way for which he apologized yesterday.

You can read more about the exchange here at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and here at Bearing DriftBut the real story is the left's concentrated attack campaign on ALEC. Why was a representative of ProgressVA at the press conference in the first place? Previously, it issued a half-truth laced "report" on ALEC given credence by the Mainstream Media, especially the Washington Post.  In reality, it is a propaganda piece, not unlike NARAL's "study" on Pregnancy Resource Centers two years ago, which the MSM also jumped on. See a pattern here?

Despite the "report," ALEC reports its activities on its comprehensive website — hardly secretive. As with any other think tank, it provides state legislators with research, legislative concepts and model legislation, but from a distinctly conservative perspective. ALEC was co-founded in 1973 by conservative icon Paul Weyrich. In recent months, though, the far-left and its media allies have set their sights on ALEC and its corporate sponsors, bringing with them the hysteria and bullying that seems to drive American politics these days. Within hours, corporate sponsors of ALEC, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, caved faster than the Susan Komen group did to Planned Parenthood.

Writing at Bearing Drift, our friend Norman Leahy succinctly captures the absurdity of it all:

A shoddy report combined with sloppy reporting followed up by badgering questions and even more sloppy reporting. No wonder Howell was frustrated. 

I think the real entity owed an apology here is ALEC — by the WaPo, ProgressVa and the assorted nitwits who insist that the Speaker is engaging in a Somme-like offensive on women.

You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?

Frankly, the only crime that ALEC has committed is to formulate, organize and propagate conservative ideas and assist legislators in seeing those conservative principles put into practice. But in the age of Obama, doing so is viewed by the MSM and the far-left (redundant, I know) as a threat to the American way of life. Conservative discourse has become something that must be silenced. There was a time when the battle of ideas was at the heart of who we are as Americans, and was the very freedom the Founders fought and died (as did subsequent generations) to ensure would exist. Those days are gone.

That's why you should care. We expect the far-left to do all in its power to silence religious conservatives for reasons that go way beyond politics, but now it's going after the most a-religious of conservative organizations with the same hatred and ferocity. It's no longer only about "social issues" — it's about simply being conservative and our right to organize, advocate and promote our principles. The left fears our ideas, cannot defeat our ideas, so it must silence our ideas.

If anyone in Richmond thought the battle this past session was only about ultrasounds and adoption, they were sorely mistaken. It is about all of our conservative beliefs and whether our culture will even allow them to be spoken of. If you don't understand that, you don't understand just how extreme the far-left has become.

BREAKING: Board of Health Adopts Abortion Center Regulations!

Late this afternoon the Virginia Board of Health adopted regulations for Virginia’s abortion centers.  After over an hour of public comment this morning and nearly three hours of attempted amendments and debate by the Board itself this afternoon, the Board passed the regulations 12-1. The regulations now go to the Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Department of Planning and Budget and Governor for final review.  Once that is complete, the regulations are scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2012.  The regulations will be effective for one year, with the Governor having the option to extend them an additional six months.  The process of creating permanent regulations will begin when these emergency regulations go into effect.

The regulations include licensing and unannounced inspections of abortion centers.  They also require standards regarding medical personnel like requiring that the doctor remain on premises until a woman is actually ready to be discharged, improved sanitary conditions, and emergency equipment for cardiac arrest, seizure, respiratory distress and other critical medical situations.  Abortion centers would also have to be built, or improved within two years, to standards similar to ambulatory surgical facilities.

During the meeting, one member of the Board attempted nearly two dozen amendments to the regulations, many of which would have significantly weakened the proposal.  Some minor technical amendments passed, but none of the significant changes were accepted, most not receiving a second to original motions for the amendments.

The public comment period was at times heated.  Each person was given two minutes to make their point, and most held to that time.  One opponent to the regulations, someone who regularly testifies against any and all pro-life legislation when the General Assembly is in session, refused to stop when her time was up, going to the point where the chairman of the Board even pounded his table with a gavel in an attempt to get her to follow the rules.

I testified about the lack of oversight that allowed Dr. Steven Brigham to own clinics in Virginia when he doesn’t have a license to practice medicine in Virginia and is under investigation in multiple states for putting women’s lives at risk.  As I left the podium a woman in the audience stood and began shouting at me.  Later, she shouted at a representative of the Attorney General’s office who was giving advice to the Board, and was threatened with being removed from the meeting.  When the vote concluded, another individual who had testified against the regulations began cursing at the Board and had to be escorted from the room by law enforcement.

Pro-abortion advocates stuck to questioning the motives of those who support the regulations, at times questioning the integrity of the Board itself, and using their typical misleading arguments about abortion being safe.  Some testified that clinics would no longer be able to offer other medical services if the regulations passed.  I pointed out in my testimony that abortion industry can continue offering any other medical service they claim to do regardless of today’s vote, they just have to decide whether or not they will spend their profits on the health and safety standards now required to also do abortions.

During the proceedings, a representative of the Board said that they had received over 1100 emails concerning the regulations, 646 in favor.  Thank you to all of you who took a few moments to email the Board in the past two weeks!  Your voice was heard!  Many of you also emailed members of the General Assembly during session when the legislation requiring the Board promulgate regulations passed.  Thank you to everyone who has had a part in this significant pro-life victory – including the many members of the General Assembly who voted in favor of the bill, the Lt. Governor who cast the tie breaking vote in the Senate, the Governor and the Attorney General.

After over two decades of avoiding oversight, Virginia’s abortion centers now face the choice of either spending their profits on meeting standards or no longer doing abortions at their facilities.  They have suggested that most of their clinics will close instead of meeting the standards passed today.

Family Foundation Public Comments on Abortion Center Safety Regulations

The following comments in support of abortion center regulations were submitted today to the Virginia Board of Health from The Family Foundation: Dear Virginia Board of Health Members:

The Family Foundation of Virginia urges you to accept the currently proposed regulations for Virginia’s abortion centers.  While we understand that this is only the first step in a long process toward permanent regulations, we believe that the regulations presented to the Board of Health by medical experts at the Department of Health would sufficiently improve the health and safety of Virginia's abortion centers.   Providing for regular inspections, standards regarding medical personnel like requiring that the doctor be present until a woman is ready to be discharged, proper sanitary conditions, and emergency equipment seem wholly reasonable to protect the health of women who make the unfortunate decision to have an abortion.

From the death of a woman in 2002 to the multiple accusations of negligence and malpractice against an abortion doctor in Virginia Beach to Dr. Steven Brigham, an abortion center owner in Virginia Beach and Fairfax who has had his license to practice suspended or revoked in multiple states and doesn’t even have a license to practice in Virginia, just a cursory review of the Board of Medicine’s website or news stories gives significant reason to be concerned about what is happening inside Virginia’s abortion centers. 

Unfortunately, because the billion dollar abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, has successfully blocked all attempts at requiring that complications from abortion be reported to the Department of Health, there is absolutely no way to know how many women have been harmed due to substandard care in Virginia’s abortion centers.  As you are well aware, a woman who has suffered a complication to an abortion has to give up her privacy to file a charge against the physician.  Many choose to simply remain silent.  Indeed, even in the rare cases where there is a complaint, only the doctor is investigated, the abortion center itself is not part of the investigation.

Despite the rhetoric of the abortion industry claiming that surgical abortion is safe, statistics usually used are nearly a decade old or are the creation of the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that is heavily funded by Planned Parenthood, the largest private abortion provider in the nation.  The only “standard” of care for abortions done in Virginia during the first trimester is that they must be performed by a licensed physician, but the facilities where abortions take place are not required to meet any health or safety standards.  The truth is, because there are no requirements for complications to abortion to be reported, and no state officials are required to inspect abortion centers, we have no way of knowing if the procedure is safe. 

Just this week, in a radio interview with WVTF in Roanoke, an abortion center director confirmed our fears that serious medical emergencies take place in these centers by stating, “When we have had emergencies” leading to transport of patients (presumably to emergency rooms).  The regulations proposed to you will ensure that abortion centers have the proper medical equipment in place until emergency personnel can arrive.

Women in Virginia deserve better than misleading designer statistics and guess work.  Now, you have the opportunity to make sure they are protected by adopting the reasonable, common sense regulations you have before you.  For too long Virginia’s abortion centers have hidden behind a veil of politically motivated secrecy. 

Fortunately, the General Assembly has recognized the need to put women’s health first.  By the legislature’s action, it’s now in your hands to decide just how safe the abortion centers in Virginia will be.  The Family Foundation of Virginia urges you to adopt the abortion center regulations that have been proposed to you by the Department of Health.

Urge Support Of Abortion Center Safety Regulations

Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Health released its proposed regulations for Virginia's abortion centers. The regulations are now available for public review by clicking here (scroll to page 25). The Board of Health will vote on the proposed regulations at its meeting September 15.

It is imperative that you contact the Board of Health and urge them to pass the regulations!

While we understand that this is only the first step in a long process, we believe that the regulations presented to the Board of Health by medical experts at the Department of Health would sufficiently improve the health and safety of Virginia's abortion centers.

The proposed regulations would improve the health and safety standards by providing for regular and unannounced inspections of abortion centers. Until now, abortion centers operated outside the mainstream of the medical community with little or no state supervision. The regulations also require standards regarding medical personnel like requiring that the doctor stay on premises until a woman is actually ready to be discharged, improved sanitary conditions, and emergency equipment for cardiac arrest, seizure, respiratory distress and other critical medical situations. Abortion centers would also have to be built, or improved within two years, to meet medical standards appropriate for the procedure. If these regulations threaten Virginia's abortion centers, one has to wonder just how bad things have been. Abortion centers will also have to report deaths of patients resulting from abortion procedures.

Of course, the abortion industry has responded with hyperbole, misinformation and fear tactics (see Washington Post). Planned Parenthood and NARAL are urging pro-abortion Virginians to contact the Board of Health to vote against these reasonable, common sense measures. They are well motivated and unified in their opposition to any and all regulations. It is essential that the Board hear from pro-life Virginians!

It is important to remember that the abortion industry just this year rejected legislation that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment. It is clear from its rejection of that legislation and these common sense regulations that they oppose any and all efforts by the Commonwealth to ensure women's health and safety in their abortion centers. Their predictable and short sighted response reveals that they do not take the health of women in Virginia seriously.

Please contact the Board of Health and please forward this information to as many of your pro-life friends as possible! The Board of Health needs to hear from you. It is important that our e-mails to the board be reasoned and thoughtful. Let's leave the harsh rhetoric to the supporters of the abortion industry.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments for the public comment file may do so by mail, e-mail or fax to Joseph Hilbert, Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, 109 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219, or 804-864-7022 (fax); or e-mail by clicking here. Written comments must include your name and address. In order to be considered, comments must be received by the last day of the public comment period, which is September 15.

Politicizing Abortion

Earlier today representatives from various abortion industry interests, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL, held a conference call with reporters, blasting yet to be revealed regulations of abortion centers in Virginia. Lobbyists and lawyers fro the two abortion on demand groups cautioned Governor Bob McDonnell against "the insertion of politics into this process" and "demanded the process be depoliticized." News reports so far have yet to say if there were any "non-political" participants in the conference call.

But the statements reminded us of a media story that ran during the 2010 General Assembly session, just a few weeks after McDonnell defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds in a landslide. In it, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Jessica Honke was interviewed at Planned Parenthood's offices when the camera caught something interesting in the background (see our post from the time):

Of course, I'm sure Planned Parenthood (a non-profit prohibited from electionering) wasn't endorsing anyone for the election.  They never would think of "politicizing" anything.

The Pro Choice Crisis?

It's been interesting to watch the pro-choice movement over the years. Admittedly, I wasn't around to do much watching in the 1970s right after Roe v. Wade. However, it appears that the general perspective was that the unborn child, as I would refer to him or her, was considered little more than a blob of tissue pretty much until it was born and wanted. That belief has been shown to be fiction over time as science has proved what I've always known as a matter of my faith — that it's a human being much earlier than that, as in from conception. The first shift in discussing abortion that I recall started with the concept of viability. The earlier a baby could be born and survive, the more folks on all sides had to acknowledge that it must be more than a blob at some point, though defining that particular point was difficult for pro-aborts. Currently, this once-called blob can survive outside the womb at 21 weeks.

To make matters worse for the abortion movement, Time magazine and others started reporting on fetal surgery and how the unborn child would react to stimuli doctors used in the womb. Then GE launched the 4D ultrasound. Now, the non-biased viewer saw things a lot clearer than the black and white skeletal image to which people had grown accustomed.

These scientific advances have caused a change in dialogue (and a change in opinion?). Of late, one mostly hears groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL talk not in terms of who's in the womb, but in terms of the circumstances the woman faces that merit her taking of human life: the pregnant mom is in poverty, a victim of rape, wouldn't be able to complete her education, "health care." These are real situations and not ones to make light of. However, recent news is bringing to light other circumstances that result in abortion — sex selection and extra embryos.

Not long ago we reported on sex selective abortions. While most associate this problem with India or China's one-child policy (something Joe Biden "understands," see Lisa Graas at LiveAction Blog), the use of sex selection is alive and well in the U.S (see New York Times). Unlike the UK and other places where such a practice has been banned, here it is perfectly legal. It can be done through abortion or one can simply fly to Las Vegas and pay $20,000 to choose an embryo by gender to implant through in vitro fertilization. Even if one doesn't choose to implant a specific sex but implants multiple embryos, one can engage in "twin reduction." This is the process whereby IVF clients implant multiple embryos and when they thrive in the womb, the “parents” then choose one embryo to eliminate through abortion. Given two healthy babies, sex selection can be the basis for that decision. After all, according to Gallup, 45 percent of respondents would choose a boy if they could have only one child, a number nearly double those choosing a girl (27 percent cited no preference).

Couple this practice with recent news of a 95-percent-plus accurate blood test that determines the sex of an unborn child at seven weeks (at least seven-13 weeks earlier than the oft-used ultrasound method, see CBSNews.com), and you see where this is leading. Much like the 4D ultrasound, used only for high-risk pregnancies but available commercially, some in the medical community use this blood test to detect sex-related genetic disorders, but it also is available for purchase by customers of all stripes. In a largely meaningless gesture, the primary seller of the kit, Consumer Genetics, Inc., does require an agreement from purchasers stating that the purpose of testing is not sex selection before it processes the results.

Both "twin reduction" and "sex selection" do appear to be causing some heartburn among "pro-choicers (see William Saletan at Slate.com).When the movement was focused on a blob of tissue, no discussion of motivation was necessary. Since scientific advances have forced proponents of abortion to turn the discussion into a balance between the needs of the mother and the value of the unborn child, motivation becomes relevant. Is abortion acceptable under any and all circumstances? Should someone be able to create a child, implant it and then choose to extinguish its perfectly healthy life as a result of it being one more than was intended? Doesn't the fact that they consciously attempt to create a child prove it is a life? Is it acceptable to society that a woman may choose to get pregnant as frequently as she chooses and abort any number of times to get the desired "boy" result on the seven week blood test?

Interestingly enough, we may have discovered a point where feminism contradicts itself. Can feminism hold onto the view that a woman has a "right to choose" in all circumstances, even if it results in legalized inequality between sexes in the womb?

While this blood test tragically may increase abortion, it has potential fatal ramification for the "pro-choice" movement: This once-called blob of tissue now not only has a discernable heartbeat at six weeks, its sex can be determined at seven. Those defending abortion on demand continue to run headlong into the great words of Dr. Suess: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

Not So Pretty In Pink

As summer draws to a close, and November's crucial state Senate elections approach, pro-abortion groups are recognizing that their long term control of the all-important Senate Education and Health Committee may soon slip from their grasp. Ed and Health, referred to by Planned Parenthood in a recent email as its "saving grace," has, according to committee member and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, killed nearly 80 pro-life bills in recent years (see Washington Post). Anyone who has attended an Ed and Health meeting knows how antagonistic some committee members can be to pro-life advocates. All of which would explain NARAL and Planned Parenthood's recent endorsements of Ed and Health Chairman, Senator Edd Houck. Now, Planned Parenthood is organizing phone banks throughout September and October to drive out abortion supporters in Senator Houck's district. Houck, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Bryce Reeves. In a recent e-mail Planned Parenthood encouraged the "power of pink" to help get Senator Houck reelected.

As chair of Ed and Health, Senator Houck has voted against every pro-life measure brought before the committee, including legislation allowing women to view an ultrasound prior to their abortion and reasonable abortion center safety regulations.  When regulations finally passed the General Assembly this year Senator Houck referred to it as "A terrible tragedy." To pass the bill, we had to use legislative maneuvers to bypass Senator Houck's committee.

To his credit, Senator Houck has directed the atmosphere of the committee in a professional way during his tenure, quite the opposite of former committee chair Russ Potts, who publically relished killing pro-life bills and ridiculing pro-life leaders. Instead of using the sledgehammer approach of Russ Potts, Senator Houck prefers using a scalpel. The results are the same, it's just less painful.

It seems clear that pro-abortion groups are planning to spend a lot of money and do all they can to keep control of the Education and Health Committee. They've already placed staff in the field and now are working to protect pro-abortion candidates. Pro-life Virginians need to be aware, just as pro-abortion advocates are, that the future of pro-life legislation in Virginia hangs in the balance this November.

Paid for by The Family Foundation Action.

Common Ground On Abortion?

Last week, Gallup released some very encouraging polling numbers regarding abortion regulations. Since the poll didn't relate to homosexual activity or signal growing support of abortion, the national news media decided you didn't need to know. We did. The poll, conducted in July and released last week, shows that even self-identified "pro-choice" Americans are more likely to support laws prohibiting abortion after the first trimester except for the most extreme circumstances. A majority polled also stated that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances. Support was overwhelming for laws such as parental consent, informed consent and bans on partial birth abortion, all of which we have successfully passed in Virginia.

It seems that the extreme abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, have seen that they are rapidly losing ground in the area of public opinion. Rants on NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia's blog chastise the General Assembly for passing the most reasonable and widely supported abortion measures, such as parental consent and informed consent. As public opinion continues to move toward life, the pro-abortion rhetoric gets more desperate — and peculiar. In Arizona, for example, Planned Parenthood argued against a requirement that abortions be performed by a licensed doctor, calling it an "undue burden." Luckily, the state appeals court last week unanimously rejected its argument. (See another Planned Parenthood deception, here, at LiveAction.org. You won't believe the new low road it's taken.)

Clearly outside the mainstream, these organizations continue to advocate abortion on demand throughout pregnancy with no restrictions and no oversight — and support forcing you to pay for it. Except for a very few, such thinking is clearly beyond the values most Virginians share and explains why pro-abortion candidates that take these extreme positions are fewer and fewer in number.

We understand that, as with polling on homosexual behavior and marriage, opinions on abortion often are confused and conflicting. One isolated media poll does not the truth make. For example, within a few days earlier this summer two separate polls came to opposite conclusions on the issue of same-sex marriage. Regardless of the polling, all that really matters is that the 31 times the issue has been put to a vote, traditional marriage has won. Plus, Virginians continue to send pro-marriage legislators to Richmond.

The same holds true for the issue of abortion. Virginians have been sending more and more pro-life legislators to Richmond in recent elections, indicating that the abortion polling numbers may be on to something. As we've said for years, more and more Americans — and Virginians — are becoming pro-life every day. The results are the passage of reasonable, common sense measures, such as abortion center safety regulations. Consequently, we look forward to having more pro-life advocates in the General Assembly this coming January.

Orwellian: Saving Babies Is An "Attack On Women's Health"

The pro-abortion forces in Virginia are nothing if not masters at hyperbole. That, or downright Orwellian. Today, they held a news conference at the General Assembly Building to reinforce their message of choice since their stunning defeat on the abortion center regulation bill: That limiting abortions, and thus saving the most innocent among us, is "an attack on women's health." Among attendees were a who's who of the General Assembly pro-abortion crowd: Senators Donald McEachin and Mary Margaret Whipple; and Delegates Patrick Hope, David Englin, Jennier McClellan, Scott Surovell, Adam Ebbin, Onzlee Ware, Vivian Watts and Charniele Herring — the so-called "Reproductive Health Caucus." They were joined not only by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, but by the ACLU and the League of Women's Voters, whose representative enthusiastically gave herself a shout-out when Delegate Herring failed to recognize her. What abortion "rights" has to do with registering women to vote is anyone's guess, but that moment was the most exciting thing at what had to be the most uneventful news conference in General Assembly history — nothing more than introductions, a statement by Delegate Herring, and a story by a woman whose situation was not relevant to the exchanges. Not even a question by one of the two or three members of the press who attended. Even the distributed prepared press statements were boring. Sorry, but no video, excerpted quotes, nor links worth citing. Even Planned Parenthood's e-mail alert left a lot to be desired. An indication that the tide is turning? We'll find out tomorrow when our electeds vote to sustain or reject two pro-life amendments passed down by Governor Bob McDonnell: One, to HB 2434, to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion in the new state health insurance exchanges mandated by the federal healthcare law; and another, a budget amendment, restoring abstinence education funding that former Governor Tim Kaine eliminated.

These votes promise to be very close in the Senate tomorrow during the "Veto Session." Please contact your senator Wednesday morning and ask him or her to vote for each.

Click here if you know your senator and need his or her phone number.

Click here if you don’t know who your senator is.

Meanwhile, here's more coverage on the health insurance exchange amendment, from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot (here) and below, from WTVR-TV/CBS6 in Richmond. Both feature comments from Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb.

Support Abstinence Education Funding In Virginia Budget

In addition to Governor Bob McDonnell's amendment to HB 2434, which would restrict Virginia's health insurance exchanges under ObamaCare from covering abortion services, Governor McDonnell also added an amendment to reinsert abstinence funding in the Virginia budget. This funding was included in the House of Delegates budget, but budget conferees left it out of the final budget which the General Assembly approved and sent to the governor. Such funding was a regular line item in the budget until then-Governor Tim Kaine abruptly stripped it out in November 2007 as a political IOU to Planned Parenthood. Tomorrow, the General Assembly reconvenes for its annual "Veto Session," when it reconsiders gubernatorial vetoes and amendments to bills, and will have the opportunity to include this provision back into the budget. While it is likely the House will accept this amendment, the Senate will be an uphill climb. Please contact your senator today and urge support for Governor McDonnell’s abstinence funding amendment to the budget.

Planned Parenthood, and its ally NARAL, have made it their national agenda to stop abstinence education. Both groups consistently assail abstinence programs as being ineffective. One legislator, who works closely with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, said, "The reality is with teenagers, their hormones come into play, and abstinence-only doesn't always work." Work for who? The more teens postpone sexual activity, the less profit the abortion industry makes.

The pro-abortion lobby also asserts that "abstinence education doesn’t work," "parents don't support abstinence education," and "it's naive to think that teenagers can be abstinent." None of those arguments, though, are correct according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, an October 2010 study paid for by the federal Department of Heath and Human Services found that abstinence education is highly effective and it is widely supported by parents and teenagers.

The HHS survey found that 70 percent of parents agreed that it is "against [their] values for [their] adolescents to have sexual intercourse before marriage" and that "having sexual intercourse is something only married people should do." Adolescent beliefs, according to the survey, were similar. In fact, there are federal abstinence education funds that Governor McDonnell has applied for that Mr. Kaine refused. So, even the Obama administration realizes it works.

Clearly, abstinence education is not only effective, but it is widely supported among both parents and teens. So, please contact your senator today and urge support of the governor's amendment to reinstate abstinence funding in the budget.

Click here if you know your senator and need his or her phone number.

Click here if you don't know who your senator is.

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