parental consent

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.

McAuliffe Opposes Abortion Center Safety Measures Supported By Gosnell's Lawyer!

Hand it to Terry McAuliffe. He won't back down. Not to the abortion industry. Not even to the point of being more pro-abortion than convicted baby murder Kermit Gosnell's lawyer. Even former President Bill Clinton, of whom McAuliffe is one of the biggest of FOBs (Friends of Bill) wants abortion "Safe, legal and rare." But McAuliffe has drawn a stark contrast between himself and a super majority of Virginians and Americans at large — even those who support abortion, but recognize the abomination it has become in abortion centers, such as the "Houses of Horrors" run by Gosnell and others. Last week, the Susan B. Anthony List released a statement describing the extreme position McAuliffe has taken on abortion center safety standards and how even Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for the recently convicted Gosnell, who said his client suffered from the "baby factor," supports oversight of abortion centers and certain restrictions on their procedures. Here is the entire news release:

Terry McAuliffe Opposes Abortion Clinic Regulations Supported by Gosnell Attorney

Jack McMahon Says He Supports Increased Regulation of Clinics, Late-Term Abortion Limit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week Jack McMahon, defense attorney for convicted murderer and late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, told FOX News' Megyn Kelly that he supports increased regulation of abortion clinics as well as a ban on abortion past 16-17 weeks in order to forestall crimes like those Gosnell committed. In light of McMahon's statements, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser blasted Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's opposition to increased health and safety standards for the Commonwealth's abortion facilities.

"Weeks of graphic testimony detailing the horrors and conditions inside Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia abortion clinic was enough to sway even Gosnell's own attorney,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “If McMahon can agree that women going into abortion facilities must be treated with basic dignity and respect, why can't Terry McAuliffe? Virginia women are increasingly disturbed that a politician who seeks to represent women would oppose such elementary efforts to protect our health and safety.

“Kermit Gosnell isn't alone. More than 80 violations were discovered inside Virginia abortion facilities last year. Unsafe, unsanitary conditions — not to mention barbaric abortion practices — continue to be exposed nationwide. Shame on McAuliffe for refusing to join the General Assembly and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in standing up for Virginia women. Women deserve better than his extreme abortion ideology.”

Last month, McAuliffe's campaign was asked by the Washington Post to confirm or deny that he supports “a platform of abortion on-demand at any time, for any reason, paid for by Virginia taxpayers,” including “sex-selective abortion, late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, and abortions on teenage girls without parental consent — all paid for by Virginia taxpayers.” McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin declined to comment to the Post.

The SBA List has compiled an ever-expanding fact sheet on abortion industry negligence and brutality toward women and children occurring nationwide.

Terry McAuliffe: Too extreme for Bill Clinton; too extreme even for convicted killer Kermit Gosnell's attorney!

Another Type Of Google Alert: Protect Your Children, Monitor Even Their "Harmless" Online Activities

Last year we formed a relationship with Enough is Enough — an organization that educates parents on Internet safety, as well as with the Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Attorney General's office, to bring Internet education to parents through churches in Virginia. Through that effort, we've distributed dozens of Enough is Enough's very effective Internet 101 curricula. While the program focuses on protecting our children from Internet predators who stalk Facebook and other social networking sites, there are other dangers online that, while not physically threatening, are problems nonetheless. For example, the online conglomerate Google currently is promoting an art contest for students called "Doodle-4-Google," offering prize money to schools and prizes to winners. Sounds harmless enough and, for the most part, it is.

Except in early online parental consent forms (and forms distributed to schools) Google asked the children participating to hand over private information, such as home addresses, dates of birth and the last four digits of their social security numbers. This is information that is perhaps worth millions of dollars to marketers and retailers. They also ask for the children's place of birth — information that, when combined with one's date of birth, can be used to take a statistical guess about the first five digits of social security numbers.

Now, there is no evidence that Google plans to financially benefit from the information. It simply may plan to toss it. But if that's the case, why ask for it in the first place? Under pressure from advocacy groups, the company did change the parental consent form and no longer requires the social security number, but many schools participating in the contest still are using the original form.

This is just one example of why it is very important to monitor what our children are doing online and, just as important, teach them not to share personal information online. Whether it's sexual predators or marketing executives, our childrens' safety and personal information is highly valuable. Please take the time to monitor everything your children do online — even when it seems "harmless."

Who Could Follow Mike Huckabee?

How about Mike Pence! In case you missed yesterday's big announcement, we ended months of speculation as to who the mystery keynote speaker is for The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Celebration Gala. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that it will be Congressman Mike Pence!

Congressman Pence describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order!" An outspoken advocate for the values we share, he has been named one of the 20 most influential conservatives in America and has repeatedly received the "True Blue Award" from the Family Research Council for his commitment to the family and sanctity of human life. An April 2006 profile in U.S. News and World Report said Pence "has emerged as a powerful force" in Congress. If you have not heard Congressman Pence speak you are in for a real treat!

We plan to make the 25th Anniversary Celebration a night to remember. For a quarter decade, The Family Foundation has been on the front lines of policy decisions in Richmond and we have much to celebrate! From parental consent to abortion to the Marriage Amendment to defunding elective abortion, our victories list is long. I hope you will join us to celebrate the legacy of Walt Barbee, Anne Kincaid and others.

The gala is Saturday, October 9, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. with a private sponsors' reception and photo line beginning at 5:15. Details for the evening are being finalized, but if you would like to be sure you receive an invitation, please e-mail your name, address and phone number to us at gala@familyfoundation.org. We also expect to announce other special activities surrounding this once-in-a-lifetime event that will make the gala a can't miss event. For more information, visit our Gala Web page or call 804-343-0010.

The invitation will include details of the sponsorship benefits including the private reception, and photo line. A discounted hotel group rate is being negotiated for people desiring to spend the night in Richmond. So please mark your calendar today and plan to be in Richmond the evening of Saturday, October 9, to hear Congressman Mike Pence at The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Celebration Gala!

Planned Parenthood's Real (Partisan) Agenda

Today on the floor of the House of Delegates, SB 18, legislation that creates a pro-abortion license plate, was amended so that money raised from the plate will not go to Planned Parenthood. The identical amendment was placed on the House version of similar legislation earlier in session. The action by the House to divert the money from Planned Parenthood to the Virginia Pregnant Woman Fund has caused a verbal hissy fit from the pro-abortion lobby. It claims that the House is being "unfair" and is not treating Planned Parenthood the same as other organization’s that receive money from license plates.

The reasons for the House different treatment of the Planned Parenthood bill, patroned by Senator Louise Lucas (D-18, Portsmouth), are numerous. Of course, one reason is its pro-abortion agenda and its opposition to nearly every public policy in Virginia that relates to abortion, from our ban on partial birth infanticide to parental consent. There also is opposition because Planned Parenthood is the largest private provider of abortions in the Commonwealth. Planned Parenthood has "promised" that money raised by the plate will not fund abortion, but all we have is its word.

If those aren’t reasons enough, another explanation we have shared in the past was reinforced recently in a television interview I did on a local news broadcast regarding the license plate controversy. While interviewing the lead lobbyist for Planned Parenthood in her office, where she was arguing that Planned Parenthood is a health care organization, the camera caught an interesting sign in the background. Please watch the following brief video clip from that interview:

The camera doesn't blink on partisan Planned Parenthood.

Clearly, as I said in the interview, Planned Parenthood is a blatantly partisan political group masquerading as a health care organization. If the video isn’t enough, you can go to its  Web site and blog and see its endorsements of political candidates, nearly all of which are from one particular political party. Regardless of its claims to be all about women’s health, it really is about winning elections and making money — much of it off of the taxpayer. Isn’t it interesting that the candidates it supports are advocates of taxpayer funding of its organization.

In the next few days, the Senate will reject the amendment, reverting the money from the license plates back to Planned Parenthood. The House is likely to insist on the change, forcing the bills into a conference committee for a "compromise" to be worked out. At the same time, the budget conference committee will be debating the budget amendment that prohibits taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. It is simply unacceptable that taxpayers continue to be forced to fund a partisan organization that does not support the laws of Virginia.

The evidence is abundant. It is time to put a stop to this funding.

When It Comes To NARAL's Report Card, Failure IS An Option For Virginia!

In some bright news amidst the regular drumbeat of negative national and state reports, Virginia earned a coveted grade from NARAL Pro-Choice America last week — an "F" in protecting abortion on demand! My message to them: You ain’t seen nothing yet!

However, just a quick glance at NARAL’s criteria for Virginia’s stellar grade conveys just how out of the mainstream NARAL actually is when it comes to abortion. For example, one strike against us is that we "ban a safe abortion procedure." That procedure is the brutal act of partial birth infanticide!

Another strike? We require "biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays" prior to abortion. That would be the vastly popular and reasonable Informed Consent law. The bias-counseling? A pamphlet that describes the gestational development of an unborn child!

It gets better. Virginia also "restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent." Imagine that, requiring a parent be involved in a medical procedure when a teenager is the patient!

They also claim that Virginia law "subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions." What would that be? We don’t allow women to be subjected to second and third trimester abortions inside unregulated and uninspected abortion centers, but instead require that they be done in hospitals.

All that before we even get to the lies. In one place they claim Virginia restricts low income women’s access to abortion when, in fact, Virginia is one of only 17 states that goes beyond federal requirements and pays for low income abortions that are "elective."

While we can all be somewhat proud of this failing grade, to me, we have a long way to go to restore a respect for human life in Virginia. That will happen when we finally require Virginia’s abortion centers to be regulated and inspected; when we no longer force taxpayers to fund Planned Parenthood and low income abortions; when we bring our Informed Consent laws into the 21st century by requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

So, although we don't think we truly deserve an "F," we hope you celebrate it for a moment. Then, let's all get back to work to truly earn that grade next year.

Washington Post's Ponnuru: "Desperate Deeds"

We don't have a News Stand for you today, but if you take a look yesterday's, you will see a link to a post entitled "Desperate Deeds" from Right Matters, a blog at the Washington Post, by conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru (here). He concisely explains in six points why Democrat Creigh Deeds' sudden, politically  eccentric attack on Republican Bob McDonnell's pro-life positions won't work. Here it is:

Democrat Creigh Deeds, down in the polls in the race for governor of Virginia, has decided to campaign against Republican Robert McDonnell for having spent too much time during his career trying to restrict abortion. Here are five reasons why this tactic is unlikely to work:

1) Most people don't enjoy discussions of abortion, and react negatively when people bring it up. The people who vote on the issue already know where the candidates stand and aren't going to be swayed by ads.

2) Virginia isn't a strongly pro-choice state. Its current governor, after all, is a nominally pro-life Democrat.

3) A lot of voters know that governors can't ban abortion — and that Democrats have the White House, the House, and the Senate, and have just made an appointment to the Supreme Court.

4) Voters have other things on their minds, such as the economy, and will find it odd for a gubernatorial candidate to be talking about something else.

5) This campaign tactic puts Deeds in an impossible position. He has to persuade the voters that the candidate who isn't talking a lot about abortion is the one who is dangerously obsessed with the issue. Good luck with that.

So what do you think? Is Deeds making a big mistake?

Update: I should have added another one. 6) McDonnell is on the right side of public opinion on the specific legislative issues Deeds is pointing at, such as a ban on late-term abortion and a requirement for parental consent.

One can imagine the Deeds team on a conference call last week, depressed by the poll numbers, frantically searching for in issue with traction. Finding none, someone yells, "I've got it! Abortion!" "Right," the others would say, "the abortion card! Let's play it!" But it's no winning hand, as documented here.

It's funny: Liberals always talk about conservatives "taking us back to bad times." But this demagoguery is the real time warp.

Virginia News Stand: August 11, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Answer Is . . . Abortion!

If Virginia's gubernatorial campaign was modeled after the game show Jeopardy!, where the answers are the clues and the questions are the answers, Democrat candidate Creigh Deeds' response to the word "abortion" would be, "What is the winning campaign issue?" It may be, but not the way he's going after it. First, he's the one way out of touch. As a well -publicized poll showed earlier this year, a majority of Americans now consider themselves pro-life. But a super majority of Americans always have been against partial-birth abortion and for parental consent. So, who's the extremist here?

But what makes this a particularly odd move by Deeds is that he has simply proclaimed it! That is, out of nowhere, he has flat out declared this is the issue of the campaign. As if he declares the ground rules. Okay, maybe he does. So at the first and only debate, thus far, with Republican Bob McDonnell, Deeds said the "social" issues wouldn't be a big part of his campaign. Talk about decisive leadership!

Still, it remains funny that Deeds thinks he can make up the rules of the campaign (being far down in the polls does not dictate a position of strength); that he blurts it out of nowhere; that he contradicts himself; and, after all that, picks a losing issue.

Enjoy your briefing today from the News Stand. We are pleased to start off with video from WTVR/CBS6 in Richmond, which interviewed our very own Chris Freund about the Deeds gambit.

Video:

*Deeds goes after McDonnell on abortion (2:34) (WTVR-TV/WTVR.com)

  

The Family Foundation's Vice President-Policy and Communications Chris Freund is interviewed by Richmond CBS affiliate WTVR-TV/6.

News:

Economy, abortion rights focus of gubernatorial race (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Deeds picks off political scab: abortion rights (Roanoke Times

Deeds targets abortion issue (Washington Times)

Deeds Throws Abortion Gauntlet (Washington Post)

Commentary:

Desperate Deeds (Ramesh Ponnuru/Right Matters Washington Post Blog)