birth control

GA Update: This Week's Abortion Votes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delegate Bob Marshall Takes On Terry McAuliffe In New Television Ad

Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas) is campaigning for another term in the House, where he has been a member since 1992. But he's also, in a just released television spot, decided to take on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Interesting strategy and Delegate Marshall does it, as we are accustomed to, in his own way. The genesis of the spot is the false McAuliffe attack, echoed now by Democrats the state over, that a bill introduced by Marshall and supported by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe's Republican opponent, would ban birth control. The bill has nothing to do with birth control and, as Marshall points out, two U.S. Supreme Court rulings prohibit state legislatures from banning contraception. In a statement, Marshall said:

I should call my 30 second cable TV ad "McAuliffe’s Mendacity." Now my own opponent has joined in the craze and has huge mailers accusing me of the same nonsense which the Democrats know or should know is blatantly false. Several other races are being similarly targeted. Where is the responsible journalism?

Marshall adds two great kickers at the end. He reminds viewers that McAuliffe publicly stated earlier in the campaign that he won't read bills if elected governor (but would "hire people to do it for him") and says that his opponent apparently doesn't read bills either. Ouch! But then, only as Marshall would do, encourages people who don't belief him to call his cel phone! Brilliant!

The ad combines three elements conservative candidates rarely use (or are afraid to), characteristics Marshall contains in abundance for those who know him (and not the media caricature of him): confidence in knowledge of the issues, courage to take on those who would do your character or cause harm, and a sense of humor. Who else would jibe his opponent about not reading a bill he's criticizing and then challenge him or the public to call his phone to discuss it? Take that T-Mac!

Forget his opponent: Delegate Bob Marshall takes on "McAuliffe's Mendacity" to set the record straight.

The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Wild Day At General Assembly Ends With Several Victories

With the first two weeks of this year's short session progressing at a less than brisk pace, it was inevitable that the start of the last week before "crossover" would be hectic. Monday did not disappoint. No less than three important sub- or full committee meetings, starting at 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. with maxed-out dockets, were scheduled. The House Privileges and Elections Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments offered up the first good news of the day when it voted to report HJ 684, patroned by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), which would allow the Board of Education to approve charter schools as a way to get around obstructionist local school divisions that now have sole authority to approve them — and the reason Virginia only has four charter schools.  Then the House Education Committee heard debate and voted to report HB 1442, the "Tebow Bill," patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle), which would allow homeschooled students to play sports for their local public school; HB 1617, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Shenandoah), which protects college student groups from allowing membership to those who fundamentally disagree with the organization's mission; and HB 1871, a bullying definition bill successfully amended to ensure that it punishes bullies not based on the characteristics of the victim, but on the act of the bully. Additional language added to the bill ensures First Amendment protections.

Passage of the homeschool sports bill and the college student group protection act are legislative priorities for The Family Foundation. The latter would allow student groups at Virginia state colleges to organize according to their beliefs. Unfortunately, some universities around the country have enacted "all-comers" policies that essentially eliminate these groups from being able to set criteria for their members and leaders. Free association is protected by the constitution and this bill seeks to clarify that. It passed by a 19-2 vote. It also passed a similar bill affecting children of military personnel who constantly are re-stationed at various bases or deployed, but whose children stay in the same area with a relative.

Then, the shocker of the day: Overcoming the predictable opposition of the public schools, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-6 to report the Parents Rights Bill, SB 908, patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Fredericksburg). It reaffirms Virginia court rulings that parental rights are "fundamental" into state code. This is significant, because fundamental rights are treated with much more deference by the judiciary than "ordinary" rights.

The afternoon was busier. Senator Ralph Northam (D-6, Norfolk) introduced his second bill of the session in the Education and Health Committee to repeal the ultrasound update to Virginia's informed consent law. Because of its redundancy, committee chairman Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), wasted no time in public debate and it died quickly on an 8-3 vote, prompting Senator Northam to call the committee a "kangaroo court."

The House Courts of Justice Committee had a full docket as well. After debate, it killed on a 10-6 vote HB 1644, patroned by Delegate Vivian Watts (D-39, Annandale), which would have changed the definition of birth control in the Virginia Code to include abortifacients, including the morning after pill. While advocates claimed it was an innocuous bill, it would have forced pharmacists against their conscience to dispense abortifacients to those 17 and younger. Later, after many questions of concern their Senate counterparts did not have, the committee voted to pass by until Friday the House version of the Parents Rights Bill, HB1642, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City).

Please contact members of the House Courts of Justice Committee and urge them, especially if your delegate is on the committee, to pass HB 1642, to secure basic, fundamental rights of Virginia parent in state code! 

Please also contact your senator to vote yes on SB 908 on the Senate floor and no to any motion that would re-refer it to committee or otherwise kill it.

If that wasn't enough, sub-committee meetings started in the evening, highlighted by one of the most talked about bills of session, "The Right To Farm Act," a property rights bill. The highlight of that meeting is detailed in a brief, must read post, here.

Things are moving quickly this week. Please watch your e-mail, this blog and our Facebook and Twitter accounts — which often allow us to update you on events much more quickly — to get the latest news and information on what action to take with your delegates and senators in promoting traditional, conservative family values policies  in Virginia.

Does Religious Freedom Matter Anymore?

On this date in 1786, the Virginia General Assembly enacted one of the most important initiatives in our nation's history — the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom. Today, Governor Bob McDonnell issued a proclamation celebrating the Statute and Senator Bill Stanley (R-20, Moneta) and Delegate Chris Peace (R-97, Hanover) gave speeches in their respective chambers to bring attention to this day. This amendment to our state constitution was the foundation for our First Freedom as defined in the U.S. Constitution a few years later. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson — it is one of the three accomplishments for which he wanted to be remembered and engraved on his tombstone; the others being author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia — the Statute recognizes that our right to exercise our faith

. . . can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience.

It adds:

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

As attacks on the religious liberty of Americans continue to grow, it is important to remember the real meaning of the term and take the opportunity to educate our friends and neighbors who may be buying into some of the secular left’s notion of "separation of church and state." For example, we often call our First Freedom a "constitutional right to religious freedom," but the reality is that this freedom comes from God and is simply to be protected by the constitution; it doesn't come from our constitution.

It is important to note that we have the freedom to be involved in "civil capacities" and express our "opinions in matters of religion" in these capacities. This is particularly important to remember as the radical secular left in Virginia has attacked us for our support of pro-life and pro-family legislation as a violation of "separation," something that flies in the face not just of the Statute but over 230 years of American history. This is not only our right, it's our duty.

This year, we are supporting initiatives that we hope will restore the real meaning of Jefferson's Statute. One, an amendment to the state constitution by Senator Stanley — working with Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax) — would seek to reestablish our rights as citizens to pray at public government meetings, a longstanding tradition that the secular left has sought to stop, successfully in many cases, throughout Virginia.

Of course, one major threat to the freedom of all Americans is the federal government's mandate that citizens fund the birth control of others through President Obama's health insurance scheme, a mandate that is currently being challenged in nearly 30 lawsuits across the nation. While the secular left and abortion industry call this mandate about "access" to birth control, the truth is that it requires a redefinition of the word "access" to mean "paid for by somebody else at the expense of their freedom of conscience."

Which Philosophy Represents Personal Responsibility? Who Would You Rather Have Your Daughter Or Son Emulate?

Here's a story of two 30-year-old women. One is white. One is black. One is a conservative and lives in Utah. One is a liberal and lives in the D.C. area. Both have or will address the two major party conventions. One, by age 30, was married, had two children, teaches, is a homemaker, was elected to her city's city council, became mayor, and is a candidate for the House of Representatives. The other is still in college at a Catholic law school. One espouses American exceptionalism, where people can be and do anything they aspire to through initiative, hard work and freedom from an overbearing government. The other has become the darling of the Left for her speeches demanding the federal government force private and religious institutions to pay for her birth control as well as abortion on demand, even if it's against their faith. One, America just discovered. The media has fawned over the other for months now.

Which one represents personal responsibility and your values? Which one is an accomplished role model for your daughter or son to emulate? Which one thinks the government should make decisions for you, compromise the First Amendment by coercing religious institutions into complying with ideas contrary to their convictions, and make almost anything you define as essential, free? Who are these women and which philosophies do they represent?

Meet the dynamic conservative Mia Love.

 Reintroducing the far left wing, big government, you-must-pay-for-abortion-and-contraception-on-demand Sandra Fluke. How perfectly apt for what the diminished Left has become.

Party Down For Free Birth Control With Planned Parenthood!

Now that "free" (i.e., government mandated) birth control will be available through health care coverage from insurance companies, as per the Obama administration through the authoritarian provisions of ObamaCare, Planned Parenthood decided to throw down with a . . . a . . . a . . . well, we're not exactly sure what this is . . . except bizarre and a natural match for the brand that is Planned Parenthood (see Thomas Peters at LiveAction's blog).

A dancing birth control device and a spoof of a popular movie: A strange video for a peculiar bunch. Planned Parenthood celebrates publicly financed "free" birth control.

ObamaCare On The Verge Of Providing Free Birth Control At The Expense Of Basic Freedoms

Forget for a moment the fiscal and health policy irresponsibilities  — of which there are plenty — of ObamaCare (trillions of dollars in more debt and health care rationing, to name only two of the largest). Let's just say government can wave its magic wand and make every decision with twice the wisdom of Solomon, we need do nothing but accept the beneficence of a big, all-knowing central authority, and life ran smoother than marbles on glass. That still doesn't address the absolute authoritarian rule ObamaCare empowers the federal government through unelected bureaucrats and political appointees — more than 1,000 "shalls" granted to the  Secretary of Health and Human Services alone. One of those powers is to force health insurance companies to provide coverage of certain procedures and at what cost (but the administration says it believes in capitalism). Some of that came down the pipe last week when the Institute of Medicine, the health policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released its recommendations on women's preventative health care to HHS. The understanding, of course, is that this was to deal with diseases and illnesses, you know silly, the things that make you sick. Stuff that can make you die or limit or incapacitate you. Things that aren't of choice.

But for some reason it wasn't a surprise when the IOM classified pregnancy as such and recommended to mandate insurance companies not only provide for contraception coverage, but offer it free — not even a co-pay. For those who eventually enroll in the government's insurance plan, that means the taxpayers will pick up the tab for birth control. Never mind the fiscal implications. Never mind even the health implications. What about conscience protections? Pharmacies, doctors, insurance companies, hospitals and the like who are morally opposed to contraception will be forced to provide it? What about employers at institutions, such as churches, who are opposed to contraception? No exceptions. We're all going to pony up for this if it becomes official (see Sister Mary Ann Walsh in the Washington Post's Views on Faith blog).

The Left already is soft pedaling this (if not demagoguing opponents). But we're not talking only about the occasional six pack of condoms. The IOM broadly defined contraception to include certain abortifacients. Abortion, we were told, would not be part of ObamaCare. Speaking of ObamaCare lies, check out the lies (not just y the administration about what the law will or won't do) but the lies used to sell the bill to the public (which still didn't buy it) as thoroughly sourced and documented by Michelle Malkin. But this administration never ceases to work around the will of the people and its legislative representatives. It rules. It doesn't govern. This isn't a subtle policy change, but an unprecedented, abrupt circumnavigation of decades of bipartisan agreement.

Here is how Chuck Donovan details it at The Foundry blog:

The IOM recommendations on preventive medicine not only would include a “full range” of contraceptives but would also stipulate that the contraceptives be offered without co-pays and exempt from deductibles —preferential treatment not accorded other procedures or prescription drugs. The term contraceptive is impressively flexible, including sterilization and devices and drugs that are known to have a mode of action that includes causing an abortion early in pregnancy. Among the latter is a new drug called ulipristal, or Ella, which is characterized as a morning-after pill, but it can actually work days after conception by “preventing attachment to the uterus,” as a promotional video from the manufacturer describes it.

Read the full post here. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Planned Parenthood wants the policy right here, right now. Hear it roar in this CBS6 piece which also features Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb. How ironic that those who cynically call for "choice" are clamoring for a policy that infringes on the economic, financial and conscience freedoms of companies, taxpayers and citizens of faith.

Free birth control? No problem. First, we will control your decisions.

Where Are All The Girls? The Consequences Of Choice

Science shows that without intervention 105 boys (plus or minus one) are born for every 100 girls. In an era of relative truth, this is nonetheless a rare and undisputed biological fact. Scientists concur: Any greater deviation is a result of unnatural causes. Consider this: The ratio in India is 112 boys to 100 girls, 120 in Armenia, and 121 in China. According to Jonathan Last in his Wall Street Journal review of Mara Hvinstendahl's book Unnatural Selection, "there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world."

Scientific developments in the 1970s brought amniocentesis, or the in utero “sex test,” which has been replaced in recent years by the ultrasound. Costing an average of $12 in India or China, sex tests have become popular in preventing the birth of unwanted girls. The Wall Street Journal reports that an India clinic advertises, "Better 500 rupees now than 5,000 later" in reference to the cost of a sex test versus a dowry. In The Economist's in-depth March 4 article "Gendercide: The Worldwide War on Baby Girls," it reported that "In one hospital in Punjab, in northern India, the only girls born after a round of ultrasound scans had been mistakenly identified as boys, or else had a male twin."

Jonathan Last gives this compelling example:

Take South Korea. In 1989, the sex ratio for first births there was 104 boys for every 100 girls — perfectly normal. But couples who had a girl became increasingly desperate to acquire a boy. For second births, the male number climbed to 113; for third, to 185. Among fourth-born children, it was a mind-boggling 209.

Similar patterns can be found among Chinese, Indian and Korean parents in America.

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider, has not distanced itself from using abortion as a form of birth control, but rather, embraced it (read more at the Live Action Blog). Discussing developing nations, Malcom Potts, a past medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, stated that abortion was preferable to birth control: "Early abortion is safe, effective, cheap and potentially the easiest method to administer." A slight variation on gender-selective abortion, race-selective birth control is what motivated Margaret Sanger in part to found Planned Parenthood (BlackGenocide.org). True to its eugenic roots, even in recent years, Planned Parenthood has accepted donations earmarked for the abortion of black babies. Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood fought legislation that ultimately passed in Arizona which criminalized performing or coercing a woman into receiving an abortion on the basis of race or gender selection.

These results are the consequences of choice. As Jonathan Last concludes his article:

For if "choice" is the moral imperative guiding abortion, then there is no way to take a stand against "gendercide." Aborting a baby because she is a girl is no different from aborting a baby because she has Down Syndrome or because the mother's "mental health" requires it. Choice is choice . . . this is where choice leads.  This is where choice has already led . . . there are only two alternatives: Restrict abortion or accept the slaughter of millions of baby girls and the calamities that are likely to come with it.

If statistics and history hold, this is where our society is headed if it continues its full embrace of "choice." Advocates for abortion on demand must take a close look at the facts before it's too late . . . another 163 million girls too late.

Leftist Worlds Collide, Part Two

Not only are extreme liberals cracking up over each other on issues of birth control vs. the environment, they are whacking at each other on the most biased "news" channel ever to hit a satellite dish. If the Clinton-Obama rivalry is as bad as manifested this week on the air, live, between their MSNBC leftist-talking-point-memorizing-hack-proxies, there may be untold problems on that side of the aisle that are well beyond anyone's comprehension. Talk about dysfunction. Laugh out loud as you read The Politico's account of it all, here.