Make Them All Squeal

If only we had such pols in Virginia. Joannie Ernst, an Iowa Senator, is running for the U.S. Senate in a crowded Republican primary. Trailing badly, she now has momentum, recognition and possibly drawn an inside straight to the nomination (see John McCormick at Business Week). The "Why?" is her unfailing principled conservatism. The "How?" is much more integral to the story. It's her unique ad that is resonating not only in agriculture rich Iowa, but across the nation:

Joannie Ernst is trying to castrate politics as usual.

Now, Ernst has a background that lends itself to this type of ad. But it's not only her background and the humor (and shock) inherent in it. It's the determined, purposeful, forceful stand she communicates. A candidate can be forceful and not dour. Why don't more conservatives take this approach? What are they afraid of?

There are those on the Right who claim saying "no" isn't enough, but when the Left is foisting unneeded, unwanted and destructive policies disguised as solutions to issues where no problems exist; that are deconstructing our nation's greatness, "no" often is the best and only answer.

While Ernst wants to make the big spenders squeal, it doesn't end there. She's a committed social conservative, too, who earned the Susan B. Anthony List endorsement because of her staunch pro-life record (see Shane Vander Hart at

Limited spending. Pro-life. No doubt it's not only the Left that are squealing, but the GOP establishment as well. I don't know how this primary will turnout, but at least Ernst has injected enthusiasm and promise into a campaign many had conceded to the likely Democrat nominee. Those two elements are sorely lacking among many right-of-center in Virginia and, indeed, around the country.

Media Ignores "Tolerant" Democrat Congressional Candidate's Hateful Twitter Attack On TFF

Democrat Congressional candidate Mike Dickinson today went off the rails and attacked us and TFF President Victoria Cobb via Twitter. There was no rhyme or reason. He didn't cite any specific bill or policy we're working on at this year's General Assembly, only a trite, false, hateful, demonizing, inflammatory attack — and not even a good one. The incoherent rant is full of punctuation mistakes. In the first one (the second one below) he omitted the apostrophe in "Virginias" but included one in "it's" when he meant "its." He could've used the saved character for a period at the sentence. But perhaps most offensive is that Dickenson, who's is in the strip club business — nothing spells out respect for women more than exploiting them as strippers — calls Victoria a "grand wizard." Again, if you're going to insult someone, do it right: titles before names are capitalized. Besides, what's he insinuating by using the masculine form of the word? Shouldn't it be "Wizardess"?


Seriously, though, isn't a man of, and on, the Left, supposed to be tolerant? Then what's with the attack? Not even his audience was amused. Of the 10 people who replied to his two tweets, at least eight chastised the 7th district candidate for his hateful tirades against people who simply disagree with him. More than that, this "tolerant" liberal proposes to use the force of the federal government, if elected to Congress, to restrict the free speech rights of people with whom he disagrees by arbitrarily designating them as "haters." He also went on unrestrained tirades against the NRA and Fox News.

But we just report. You decide:

According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, in a recent campaign speech, Dickinson said that Democrats "don't judge," that the party is "open," and added . . .

judging people by outdated stereotypes is exactly what Democrats are supposed to be against.

Nothing like a good bit of hypocrisy and double-standard to go with your foot-in-mouth. The same article noted that 7th district Democrats were ready to vote for "no candidate" rather than nominate Dickinson if no one else entered the race. That speaks volumes.

Another question: Where's the media? It went bonkers on the orders of — excuse me, a "news release" by — Planned Parenthood over a pro-life politician's Facebook posting, which did nothing but sarcastically use a term for pregnant women the abortion industry frequently uses.  The lack of understanding of irony is beyond belief — Planned Parenthood was making a point it doesn't even agree with, i.e., that pregnant women are mothers, yet the media tried to excoriate the lawmaker.

Now, we have a left wing politician using social media to attack a woman and we issued a press release. But no phone calls, no interviews. "War On Women" anyone? Here's the news release:

Democrat Candidate Attacks Family Foundation on Twitter

- Organization Demands Democrat Leaders Distance Themselves from Statement -

RICHMOND – The Family Foundation of Virginia today called on Democrat leaders Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe to distance themselves from inflammatory statements by Mike Dickinson, a Democrat running for Congress against Representative Eric Cantor.

"As the Democratic party continues to seek to silence any opinion in America that they oppose through the IRS, bullying the news media and threatening free speech, we now have yet another Democrat candidate for office who clearly has not read the First Amendment of the Constitution or has no intention of applying it to all Americans," said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. "Regardless of one’s position on controversial issues, the idea of candidates for office threatening American citizens with the awesome power of the federal government for simply exercising their fundamental constitutional rights to speak out on controversial issues is chilling. We call on Virginia Democrat leaders like Tim Kaine, Mark Warner and Terry McAuliffe to distance themselves from this candidate and his inflammatory, hateful rhetoric."

A lot has been made by Democrats this session, from the governor on down, of the "Virginia Way." We're wondering if this is what they mean. Meanwhile, we'll wait for their statements — and their explanation of "tolerance" — as well as the media's coverage of it all.

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.)

"Close The Window, Pull Down The Shade"

Earlier today, the Virginia Senate voted to pass SB 617, a bill to repeal the 2012 ultrasound update to the abortion informed consent law. The version of the story you'll probably hear is simply that the bill passed on a 20-20 vote with Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam breaking the tie in favor of the bill. What really happened though involves multiple votes, a win and then a loss and then another loss, procedural gymnastics, mistakes and tears. But worst of all, the silencing of one senator's conscience by the strong arm of his caucus. Let me back up though and tell you the whole story. Even before SB 617 passed out of the Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday, The Family Foundation met with lawmakers, lining up votes in favor of life and against SB 617. As today approached, we were cautiously optimistic that we had the necessary votes to defeat SB 617.

When the bill came up on the floor of the Senate, Senator Mamie Locke (D-2, Hampton) urged senators to vote on the side of John Stewart and Rachel Maddow and repeal this "shameful" law. Senator Locke quoted Family Foundation testimony given in committee stating that an ultrasound is a powerful "window into the womb" and referencing that testimony, she urged the Senate to "close the window, pull down the shade."

In other words: Do not, under any circumstance, show a woman a picture of the life she is carrying. Make no mistake — despite the opponent's rhetoric to the contrary — this bill is about hiding critical information from women.

After much debate, the vote was called and the bill failed, 18-22. The vote was party-line with the exception of Senator John Watkins (R-10, Powhatan) who voted in favor of the repeal and Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Toddy Puller (D-36, Mount Vernon) who voted against the repeal. This vote line up struck us as odd because Senator Puller has never (in our recollection) voted pro-life. Sure enough, a few minutes later, she made a motion to reconsider the vote by which SB 617 failed to pass (this is a fairly common procedure when someone accidentally votes the wrong way). The bill's passage was reconsidered and the vote sudenly was 20-20 (Senators Colgan and Puller switched) and  Lieutenant Governor Northam broke the tie in favor of the repeal.

Senator Colgan confirmed with media (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) and pro-life lobbyists alike that his vote switch was entirely accidental. He even filed a "yellow slip" in which the official record reflects that he intended to vote no (but that cannot change the outcome of a vote).

Because of Senate Rule 48a, a bill can only be reconsidered once. Therefore, Senator Colgan's mistake would stand unless unanimous consent to temporarily suspend the rule was given by the entire chamber to allow Senator Colgan to change his vote. Proving his sincerity, a very emotional Senator Colgan petitioned his Democrat caucus colleagues to give him unanimous consent to vote his conscience and right his incorrect vote. Senator Watkins, who was on the prevailing side, as required, made the motion to reconsider the vote, but it failed 37-1. The sacrificial lamb for the caucus, Senator Locke, voted no. Clearly, among Senate Democrat leaders, orthodoxy to the abortion industry took precedent over the conscience of even one of their own members. Senator Colgan was not allowed to vote his conscience.

But Senate Republicans were determined to allow Senator Colgan his voice. The next bill up for debate was a bill dear to the hearts of the Democrat caucus — a bill to increase the minimum wage. However, the bill needed unanimous consent for it to be moved to "third read" and properly before the Senate for a vote on final passage (a common procedure). Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) took to the floor to make the point that he could vote against the motion requiring unanimous consent and thus defeat the bill singlehandedly. Senator Norment impressed upon the Democratic caucus the inappropriateness of their stifling the conscience of Senator Colgan and reminded them that if the Republican caucus wanted to retaliate, that they had the perfect opportunity by singlehandedly defeating the minimum wage bill. Taking the high road, Senator Norment made his point and then encouraged the Republican caucus to be statesmen and not vote in a retaliatory fashion. However, the point was clear — the Democratic caucus had played dirty today and their shameful actions would not be ignored.

SB 617 will probably be heard next in the House Courts of Justice Committee where it will likely meet its demise (the same fate as a similar House bill, HB 1056). Senate Democrats are already claiming the "win" on the ultrasound repeal bill's Senate passage, conveniently ignoring that there were more members of the Senate today who opposed the ultrasound bill than supported it. It was only by mistake that it passed. Words cannot express the emotional roller coaster of today and the extreme disappointment felt when Senator Colgan was not allowed to vote his conscience. Please thank the 19 Republican Senators, Senator Puckett, and yes, Senator Colgan, for their principled stand for life.

On a positive note, SB 618, a bill to force taxpayers to subsidize abortions in Virginia's federally-mandated health exchange, failed to pass the Senate on a vote of 18-22 (Senators Colgan and Puckett joined the Senate Republican caucus to defeat the bill).

Judging By The Score

In sports, it's often said, "The game was closer than the final score indicates," or, "It wasn't as close as the score indicates." It reveals that the final score is not always indicative of how close, or not, a game may have been. Often, there’s more to the story. The most popular document created by The Family Foundation Action is our semi-annual General Assembly Report Card. In it you’ll find the "score" of every member of the General Assembly based on their legislative votes on Family Foundation priorities over a two-session period. The snap-shot of votes taken by their elected representatives gives citizens a good idea of where their legislators stand on key issues.

The Report Card also serves as a reminder to legislators that they can’t hide from the public. Every session our legislative team is asked over and over again by legislators, "Will this be a score card vote?" The message is: the Report Card matters. Legislators, at least those who are in more conservative districts, want to be able to prove their pro-family "credentials" with a good score. On the flip side, more liberal legislators often trumpet their low scores as proof of their "progressive" values. All in all, everybody wins!

Well, except that no document, or score, is a perfect reflection of the whole game. We make clear on the Report Card that it isn't meant to be used as a measure of one's personal faith. It is a great measure, as close as we've been able to come up with, of one's commitment to conservative, pro-family, pro-life principles, but it really is just part of the story. It's based only on votes and can't measure one's motives or reasoning behind a vote. That's for the legislators to explain to their constituents.

Some of the "100 percenters" on the Report Card are tried and true heroes of our values. They lead, they vocalize our values, they carry our legislation, and they work behind the scenes to advance our agenda.  Some "100 percenters," however, simply vote right when the time comes, but either offer no help or actually work behind the scenes in some instances to derail our agenda. At the same time, legislators who vote against our position in some situations may lead more than some "100 percenters." An example of that would be Delegate Todd Gilbert, who was our Legislator of the Year for 2013 with a score of 95 percent on the Report Card. But Delegate Gilbert leads on, fights for and carries our legislation.

And sometimes, there are issues that are just very complicated, though our position is very clear, that makes a vote more difficult to understand. For example, at last year's veto session, an amendment to a "Healthcare Exchange" bill relating to ObamaCare that prohibited the insurance companies in the exchange from offering abortion coverage was a high priority for The Family Foundation. The amendment passed and is now part of the law. But a couple of House of Delegates members, Barbara Comstock and Rick Morris, voted against the amendment. Was it a vote against life?  Well, no. They made it clear to us that they will not vote in favor of anything having to do with ObamaCare. It wasn't about the amendment; it was about the overall policy. Of course, we also made it clear that if we're going to have an exchange, we had the responsibility to make sure it included pro-life language. Also, last year, Delegate Bob Marshall voted incorrectly on a floor amendment granting special protections based on sexual behavior, but he did so out of an objection to how the House was operating on amendments, and not the underlying policy. Again, something that is impossible to explain in the Report Card.

The best answer to the problem is t make sure you know your legislators. The Report Card is the absolute best document in Virginia to get a picture of how dedicated to pro-family, pro-life values our legislators are during a two-year period. But if you see a vote that you don't understand, call them, or call us. Ask. Dig deeper and learn more. Stay involved during session so you know what’s happening and how your delegate and senator are voting. We don't want the Report Card to be the final authority, we want it to be a document that doesn't just educate, but motivates you to learn more and get more involved.

Don't just read the final score. Watch the whole game.

General Assembly Blog Pause: Instead, A Look At Today's March For Life

The pace of the Virginia General Assembly session is quickening. It's a grueling pace — full steam for 60 days, akin to the 400 meter sprint. It may be short, but it's an all out sprint with no chance to gasp for air. Still, today, annually, is a bittersweet day for us. We have to be in Richmond bringing all we have to bare on the General Assembly, while hundreds of thousands of loving, caring people from across the country made their voices heard for life in Washington, D.C. on the 41st anniversary of the deplorable Roe v. Wade decision. With that in mind, we taking a blogging break from the sausage making at Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, to commemorate the millions of lost lives in this country alone to the heinous crime against nature, abortion. We also salute our spiritual brothers and sisters who braved the frigid climate to march, hear speakers and energize the pro-life movement.

While many of us could not go to Washington because of work, family or the weather, we at least can bring you a taste of what went on today — a virtual March For Life. The Family Foundation urges you not only to view at least some of these great resources (and to read and view at still more sites), but to share these resources. The Walk For Life is nothing if not an educational vehicle to change hearts and minds. We have the opportunity to continue that in our own, less visible, quiet, yet no less effective way.

1. Share this graphic!

Photo: The reality is really striking, isn't it?</p><br /> <p>Pass it on!

Abortion kills, by the numbers. What say those who think we must care for the least among us, yet think abortion is an acceptable "choice"?

2. Click the image below and watch and share the terrific ProLifeCon conference from FRC about the pro-life movement, held earlier today in conjunction with the March For Life. It features some of the most prominent pro-life speakers, writers and activists, including two who have spoken at Family Foundation events at the capitol during recent General Assemblies: Ryan Bomberger and Jill Stanek.

 Cover Photo

3. Watch and share the video below from EWTN. It is the entire March For Life coverage from today. It features brilliant studio guests as well as full coverage from Washington and the podium speakers at the rally itself.

Live Action's Lila Rose Will Be Keynote Speaker At Virginia Stands For Life Rally!

We are proud to confirm that Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, and perhaps the most influential person in the national debate on abortion, will be the keynote speaker at the Virginia Stands For Life Rally on January 8 in Capitol Square. You will not want to miss this event and this most dynamic, intelligent, creative and articulate defender of life and exposer of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. From the age of 15, when she founded Live Action, Ms. Rose has dedicated herself to building a culture of life and ending abortion. By the time she was an undergraduate at UCLA (which wasn't that long ago), it became one of the country's most effective non-profit organizations — a groundbreaking, investigative organization through the use of the then new technologies of digital and social media (see CNN feature). Live Action's game changing techniques forced the mainstream media to report abortion industry abuses that it previously ignored and that began changing the public's view on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

She has led Live Action's numerous undercover investigations, which have exposed corruption and illegal activity at Planned Parenthood. Her work has documented rampant sexual abuse cover up, medical misinformation, racism, willingness to assist sex traffickers, and false statements by Planned Parenthood executives. Live Action videos make national headlines and have generated millions of views online. She is a frequent guest on The O'Reilly Factor, The Glenn Beck Show, The Laura Ingraham Show and many other news and talk programs on radio, television and the Internet.

Lila Rose

Pro-life dynamo: Live Action's Lila Rose.

Between the abortion industry mobilizing in opposition to pro-life bills and its spending nearly $2 million against pro-life candidates this past election, many elected officials fear even to mention their pro-life positions. Last January, however, they got the clear message that life matters when nearly 1,000 people showed up on the first day of session to pray and stand for women and their unborn children at the first ever Virginia Stands For Life Rally. They also visited those elected officials' General Assembly offices! It sent a powerful message to members of the General Assembly and media.

The opportunity to do that again occurs when the General Assembly convenes on January 8. Our goal is to have 1,500 people from across Virginia come to Richmond that morning in Capitol Square and be a voice for those who have no voice. Watch the following video and click here for event specifics and to register to be in RIchmond on January 8:

Combat the War On The Unborn. Virginia's politicians need to know Virginia is pro-life!

This Is How It's Done

The procedure used for a late-term abortion — starting at 20 weeks — is called Dilation and Evacuation, otherwise known as D&E. It is brutal, even barbaric. But don't take my word for it. Ask Dr. Anthony Levantino. Congress did. Dr. Levantino is a former abortionist who now is pro-life (see (The Record). He testified before a Congressional committee earlier this year in support of a House bill that would end abortion after 20 weeks (and which passed during the summer). In his testimony, he described the procedure in heartbreaking, stomach-churning detail:

With suction complete, look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At the business end are located jaws about 2 ½ inches long and about ¾ of an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go. A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. ... Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard — really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg. ...

So, that's how it's done. Conscience, anyone?

If that's not enough detail, here's video of more Congressional committee testimony:

"You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you. Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester Suction D&E abortion."

John Jalsevac has more about Dr. Levantino, and a full testimony transcript, at I can't add much more. About all one can say is that after reading and hearing how D&E abortions are done, this saying all the more relevant. It also makes it's goal all the more imperative:

Dems "Vandalize" E.W. Jackson's Home With McAuliffe Signs

Yesterday, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson released a statement and picture (below) documenting the removal of yard signs from his own property and replaced with numerous signs for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Wrote Jackson:

Imagine my surprise when I woke up yesterday morning to find every sign removed from my front yard and replaced with this: (Picture of McAuliffe yard signs).

I'm not alone. We're getting reports from across Virginia of yard signs and banners being stolen or defaced. Some people are going so far as to carve my face out of posters.

This isn't free speech. This is trespassing and vandalism. Ultimately, this is intimidation. And the Democratic Party of Virginia needs to put a stop to it today . . . .

We need to be able to work together if we're going to continue to make Virginia a place where people want to live and work. That starts by stopping these antics and by respecting the views of our neighbors. I would hope that the Democratic Party of Virginia would stand up for civil discourse.

As I've traveled the Commonwealth, people are sick of politics as usual. This toxic environment stifles conversations that need to happen to find common ground on the issues that matter the most.

This seems to be a par-for-the-course leftist tactic. Four years ago, liberal activists undertook a large scale steal-and-replace operation in Buena Vista in the run-up to that year's annual Labor Day Parade. Earlier this campaign, pro-abortion activists did this to pro-life Delegate Kathy Byron's yard. It's as if the Left has nothing better to do than to show up at conservative and Christian events to scream their point, as they did during our Gala.

If this type of activity is any type of sign — and it usually is — then we can expect a dizzying last 10 days to the campaign. Whether perceived to be behind or ahead, in campaigns, the legislative process, the courts, the media or culture in general, the Left's tactics remain the same: bully, intimidate, harass, menace, strong arm until they get what they want, no matter what they want, and then some, no matter how they get it.

Buena Vista revisited. Democrat activists invade E.W. Jackson's front yard and conduct a steal-and-replace-yard-sign operation. 

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.


Look Who's Joined The Pro-Life Movement

Thanks to the Internet and the tools of the Digital Age, the Secular Left no longer controls messaging. The era of the 6:30 national network broadcast news and the New York Times and Washington Post framing the national discussion are over — in fact, has been for a while. That means the Secular Left's dishonesty, inconsistency and hypocrisy get exposed daily, and done so in ways more illustrative and vivid as to make the point 1,000 times more powerful than a 1,000 words ever could. It's provided the hall in which the pro-life message could resonate and educate, especially with America's youth, who are increasingly pro-life. Please see this as one shining example that demonstrates the Secular Left's love of trees more than unborn babies. Here, thanks to our friends at, is another clever and insightful play of how the Secular Left values "the environment" at the expense of innocent human life:

Photo: Look who else is pro-life!

Save who? This image must confuse the heck out of the pro-abortion side. 

If there's any doubt about the nature of nature, read how a dog befriended a toddler with Down Syndrome (LiveAction Blog). Maybe the Secular Left is on to something. Maybe the animals are smarter than the humans.

If I'm Not Human, What Am I?

I think the good folks at must read this blog. A day after I wrote that science, to the discontent of the Secular Left, long ago proved that the being inside a pregnant woman is a human (and not a frog, for example), the pro-life organization posted the image below on its Facebook page. The question, similar to the one I posed ("Is it a frog?") cuts to the core of the conversation, a conversation the Secular Left would rather not have, thus its strawman arguments, demonization of pro-lifers and vulgar protests. But, unless women can give birth to plants or animals, it is a human inside them. If it is a human inside them, and someone destroys that human, is that not a murder? At the very least, if there is any doubt — and who can deny there's at least that? — shouldn't we as a society, as with in any other circumstance, err on the side of safety? Isn't that what the medical profession is sworn to do?

Photo: A very good question. The burden of proof should be on those who want to kill the unborn. If there is ANY doubt about what the unborn are, we should err on the side of life. That said we know from science that the unborn are 100% human beings.

What is that? A frog? Might as well be to pro-abortion supporters. (H/T 





Yawning Our Way To Victory In The Culture War?

Incrementalism. It's a common cause for disunity among conservatives. Some just can't wait. Big and oppressive government, high taxes, picking winners and losers, failing education, decreasing prosperity, rights ceded to government, and bureaucrats running our lives and enabling the coarseness of the culture are among the many ills wrought by liberalism. But they didn't occur overnight. The Left patiently plotted, worked and plodded and, over several decades, got us into our current predicament. Get the people hooked on a little bit here and a little more later and before you know it, no one wants to, or can muster the courage, to disengage from government dependency or the status quo. Why go back? It makes the job of conservatism that much tougher.

It has also made for divisions within the conservative movement. How fast can we go? When should we go? What should our program look like? Some, want it all repealed yesterday. Some realize that we didn't get here in one day or year or even decade. It takes time to build support for deconstructing government. Unfortunately, to the former, if you take the approach of the latter, you're not all in and not a real conservative. Alec Thomas at kind of gets at the idea here.

Coincidentally, Matt Archbold at the National Catholic Register today writes about incrementalism as it pertains to the pro-life movement. Ironically, it's the pro-abortion forces who are bitterly upset at the progress (setbacks in their world) that has been made by pro-lifers in state after state by remaining patient and getting it done piece by piece. He quotes Vicki Saporta, head of the National Abortion Federation as saying:

The anti-choice folks have gotten smarter. They’re no longer talking about overturning Roe, because there would be a huge backlash. But if you make abortion inaccessible in state after state, they are in fact achieving their goal while seeming reasonable, when they’re anything but.

He then drops this gem from Michelle Goldberg of The Daily Beast:

The anti-abortion movement has been making epochal advances using regulations that are as tedious to read about as they are to describe. In the abortion wars, boredom has become a powerful weapon.

This division of patience or eagerness often is portrayed as difference in philosophy, creating "right wing" and "moderate" camps within conservatism. Usually, the policy aims are pretty on par. It's the approach that differs. Many of the legislative wins in Virginia in recent years on abortion and education choice, for example, have come by tie-breaking votes in the Senate. The bills were as packed as tightly as possible given what could be stomached by the players involved. Change the players? Sure, but that's for campaigns, not policy. We must always strive to get what we can when we can or we lose ground. Every opportunity is an opportunity — to get something, to set the stage to come back for more. (Once you get legislators in the habit of voting the right way, it gets easier each time.)

As Archbold himself writes:

You see, pro-aborts are very used to having the deck stacked against pro-lifers. Along with their friends in the media, they've (with little effort) attacked and demonized pro-life leaders as kooks for years. But now the pro-life cause is being pushed in so many places and from so many faces that the smear machine can't fix its slimy gaze.

Incrementalism may not be sexy and it may seem boring. It's not glamorous but it's effective. Archbold affectionately refers to it as a yawn. The Secular Left sees us taking a page out of their operation manual. Perhaps some of our conservative allies now can see clearly what the Left sees because we do need to row in the same direction — now that the Left is onto us it will only get more difficult. But with all conservatives working together, the blocks removed from the government fortress will become larger and larger and the yawns will turn to shouts of joy.

Yawning for joy. These days, it's pro-lifers who are happily gaining victory after victory, even in unglamorous fashion. (H/T National Catholic Register.)

“Why Is This Hack Still In Business?”

"It’s incredulous to see how our government entities pass the buck and allow this ‘doctor’ to open and operate these clinics. Absolutely incredulous! Class action suit time! Against [abortion doctor] Brigham and whatever government entity that dropped the ball."

"I think state agencies were afraid of raising eyebrows about abortion, but they just should have handled it like they do any other field of medicine."

"Why is this hack still in business? He should be closed down by the state."

Any guesses on where these quotes came from? A radical anti-abortion zealot? A pro-life politician running for office? A pro-life group's fundraising letter?

Nope. These quotes are from an RH Reality Check blog post — the premier pro-abortion blog. Surprised? We're not.

The Family Foundation has said all along: The outrages committed at the hands of abortion doctor Steven Brigham (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), the owner of many abortion centers, including two in Virginia, are hard to ignore — unless you're the mainstream media. No matter what you believe about abortion, brash negligence, willfully breaking the law, numerous life-threatening complications and a woman dying at the hands of a physician because of poor training and atrocious practices is deplorable. Brigham's license has been revoked in up to six states, but he continues to operate in the abortion industry. It begs the question: "How long until the whole world is privy to another Lancaster Avenue house of horrors?"

The former Board chair of the National Abortion Federation (a pro-abortion regulatory agency) and Physicians for Reproductive Health, Suzanne Poppema, said of Brigham:

We thought that just getting his license revoked would take care of it. But it turns out, it didn’t do any good to revoke his license. He just goes to another state, or better yet, he figured out he doesn’t need a license to open a clinic.

Brigham's story is long and painful. He has no Virginia medical license, yet he owns two Virginia abortion centers (Virginia Health Group in Fairfax and Virginia Women's Wellness in Virginia Beach). His track record is so egregious that RH Reality Check compares him directly with the likes of Kermit Gosnell. Even Pennsylvania has banned Brigham from owning or running abortion centers there. Calling him an "imminent danger to the health of the people of New York," New York suspended his license.  Maryland (where Brigham did not have a license) had to issue a cease and desist order after Brigham severely injured a patient.

Yet, even under our newly-adopted health and safety standards for abortion centers, Virginia continues to let him operate and put women at risk.

Falls Church Healthcare Center, an abortion center which by no means abides by health and safety standards — after all, its inspection found dried blood on equipment among numerous other deficiencies — wrote on its Facebook page:

Thank you RH Reality Check for this investigative piece about Steven Brigham and the terrible care he has provided women across 5 states.  

If an abortion center like Falls Church Healthcare Center is condemning Steven Brigham, what is holding health officials back from entirely removing him from the abortion industry — from practicing medicine, from owning abortion centers, from affiliation with any abortion center?

But don't be fooled by this sudden concern the abortion industry seems to have about Brigham. The fact is that every abortion center in Virginia was found to have multiple health and safety deficiencies in their centers. Every one of them. The industry obviously wants to try to appear to distance itself from what is becoming a seemingly daily occurrence — the revelation of yet another abortion center's horrific conditions or abortion doctor's irresponsible treatment of women.

No matter how much money the industry spends on public relations, it can't overcome the fact that Steven Brigham is not the exception. He's the rule.

Abortion Center Application In Fairfax City Is Withdrawn

Some big news tonight from Olivia Gans, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, as posted on the VSHL Facebook page:

Thank you to everyone that came out last night to speak against the proposed abortion facility in Fairfax City! Just to keep you all updated about it, as of last night's meeting we were told by the Mayor that they (NOVA Women's Health) had rescinded their application at this time. There were close to 40 folks there last night, all pro-life, to speak and many still did, including me. The city council graciously listened to all who wanted to speak. We must remain vigilant, as we expect the abortion facility to re-apply soon! Please like the Virginia Society for Human Life FB page for more updates!

First, it was a Hampton Roads abortion center that announced it was closing. Now this. Good news and good news. Momentum is on the pro-life side. But as Olivia wrote, we must stay vigilant and continue to make the case — legally, morally, logically and medically.

Delegate Todd Gilbert Named TFF’s Legislator Of The Year

On Friday, we presented Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock) with The Family Foundation's 2013 Legislator of the Year Award. The presentation was made at the Valley Family Forum's annual dinner in Harrisonburg. This year, Delegate Gilbert was the House patron for one of our most consequential legislative priorities, legislation that protects the freedom of association and freedom of religion rights of student groups on public college campuses. This followed his leadership last year on legislation that protects the rights of faith-based child placement agencies to operate according to their religious beliefs. Both bills protecting our liberty have become models for the rest of the nation. About receiving the award, Delegate Gilbert said:

I was surprised and honored to be named The Family Foundation's Legislator of the Year. The Family Foundation and I have teamed up in the last few years to do some amazing work protecting religious liberty and traditional moral values, and together we have accomplished some great things for Virginia.

Delegate Gilbert's solid pro-life, pro-family voting record is complemented only by his leadership in his caucus, in committee, and on the floor of the House, where he is more than willing to stand — no doubt much to the chagrin of some around him — to defend life, marriage and religious liberty, and to take on those legislators who seek to undermine our values and principles.


Delegate Todd Gilbert (L) receives The Family Foundation Legislator of the Year Award and congratulations from TFF Vice President for Policy and Communications Chris Freund.

Delegate Gilbert's leadership has made him the target of the secular left, and in particular Equality Virginia. The state's largest homosexual organization has targeted Delegate Gilbert because of his strong stance on religious liberty and his opposition to adding protection for sexual behavior to the state's non-discrimination law. In an environment of hostility, where the very phrase "social issues" or "values issues" causes some of our elected officials to reflexively run for cover, the media hysteria over anything pro-life or pro-family, and the secular left's endless rhetorical assault on conservative legislators — plus a clear cultural shift away from Godly principles and a too often silent church — few legislators are willing to lead like Delegate Gilbert.

It is always an honor to present an award to legislators of conviction who put principle before politics to advance our shared values. Congratulations to Delegate Gilbert for winning this year's Legislator of the Year award. We look forward to continuing to work with him on protecting and advancing our values.

Son Of Gosnell: LeRoy Carhart

It sounds like one of those terrible 1950s low budget, B-movie horror flicks, so bad that we watch them for laughs on cult horror movie shows with hosts like the irrepressible, Richmond-based Bowman Body back in the day, or the more current Svengoolie.  But it's no laughing matter. Not even close. Sadly, just as the Pennsylvania trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, accused of killing a woman and several babies born after botched late-term abortions, is gaining the slightest bit of traction in the media, accusations of murder have surfaced in neighboring Maryland. It is alleged that on February 7 abortionist LeRoy Carhart, while performing a late-term abortion (33 weeks) in Montgomery County, killed 29-year-old Jennifer McKenna Morbelli of White Plains, N.Y. (See

According to section 23a of the medical examiner's report, the cause of death was "disseminated intravascular coagulation . . . due to or as a consequence of Amniotic Fluid Embolism following Medical Termination of Pregnancy." What's worse is that the condition is treatable if caught in time, but Carhart allegedly abandoned Mrs. Morbelli, which delayed her eventual emergency treatment at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where she died. Abandoning a patient is a criminal offense. Complaints by Operation Rescue and a coalition of pro-life organizations have led to a preliminary investigation into the revocation of Carhart's medical license by the Maryland Board of Physicians; and Operation Rescue filed a complaint against him to the Montgomery County State Attorney.

Unfortunately, Carhart is no beginner at this brutality. In 2005, Christin Gilbert died from complications of a Carahrt-performed late-term abortion. The Maryland Attorney General's office previously announced that it was investigating Carhart's abortion center, Germantown Reproductive Health Services, for illegal dumping. A a document filed in that investigation instructs women not to go to a hospital in the event of an emergency, but instead to "call and we will meet you at the clinic." In addition, 17 members of the Maryland House of Delegates wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene asking it to close down Carhart's abortion center.

Sadly, this all appears too familiar. These stories will only get more grotesque and sadder as more and more information finally gets out about the horrors of what goes on inside abortion centers.


Lon Chaney spooks a few people in the classic bad horror film Son of Dracula. In America's abortion clinics, though, real butchery goes on, starting with Kermit Gosnell and LeRoy Carhart.

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

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!

Miraculous Success: Life And Conscience Protected

It was nothing short of a miracle yesterday afternoon: The General Assembly passed Governor Bob McDonnell's pro-life amendment to HB 1900. The amendment prohibits health insurance plans that are part of federal health insurance exchanges required by Obamacare from covering abortion services except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. With the passage of this amendment, pro-life Virginians will no longer be required to violate their consciences and fund the unethical destruction of human life. To put it precisely, as one legislator who voted for the amendment said:

I truly believe that this amendment will save more lives than perhaps anything we've ever done.

The amendment's passage was a tale more convoluted than the typical legislative labyrynth, complete with procedural moves unfamiliar to most, dramatic back room conversations and mistakes that turned into miracles. Suffice it to say, God was at work — mightily. He alone deserves the credit for this success. We'll tell the complete and detailed insider story in a later post.

Regardless of how legislators may feel about Obamacare health insurance exchanges, the vote on this amendment was solely about the taxpayer funding of abortion. Many who voted for this amendment oppose the concept of exchanges overall. Please note when checking how your legislator voted, that a vote for this pro-life amendment cannot be considered a vote against health care freedom. Some type of exchange must be created, by law, so this was to make the best of a bad situation.

Although many deserve thanks for this important victory, we would like to specifically thank Governor McDonnell for introducing the amendment, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling for ruling the amendment germane (click links for contact information), the 20 senators and 55 delegates who voted for the amendment (click links for names), national pro-life organizations for their assistance, such as the Susan B. Anthony List, and local pro-life groups — especially the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Virginia Society for Human Life, and the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists — for joining us in our advocacy on this amendment at Mr. Jefferson's capitol yesterday.

Conscience and life were protected today. Please thank God first, but secondly those above who deserve our gratitude for their principled stand for life. The complete details and inside story tomorrow.


Support Governor McDonnell's Pro-Life Amendment!

Last week Governor Bob McDonnell handed down a pro-life amendment that The Family Foundation had been strongly urging. This amendment prohibits health insurance plans that are part of federal health insurance exchanges required by Obamacare from covering abortion services except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. The amendment is to HB 1900 and SB 921, bills regarding state oversight of health exchanges. Without the governor's amendment, pro-life citizens opposed to abortion will be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life. The amendment simply continues what has been state law for the proposed exchanges since 2011 when the General Assembly adopted a similar amendment. Because the state has chosen not to create a state exchange but instead force the federal government to do so, the amendment is necessary. Twenty states have already taken this step and more are considering it. Despite the rhetoric of the abortion industry, private insurers can continue to offer elective abortion plans outside the exchanges if they wish.

Now the General Assembly must accept Governor McDonnell's amendment at tomorrow's Reconvened Session (i.e, the "Veto Session") where it considers amendments and vetoes by the governor. While we are confident that the House of Delegates will adopt the amendment, the 20-20 Senate is questionable.

So that is really where the battle lies. Over the last several days we have mobilized citizens across Virginia to contact their legislators — especially key senators — to make sure they know the citizens of Virginia want this amendment passed.

Please contact your delegate and senator and urge them to support Governor McDonnell's amendment to HB 1900 and SB 921. If you are not sure who they are, click here to find out. Then, or if you already know who they are, click here to look up your delegate's contact information and here to look up your senator's contact information.

Then contact the following key senators and urge them to vote YES on this important amendment as well:

Senator Harry Blevins: 757-546-2435

Senator John Watkins: 804-379-2063

Senator Charles Colgan: 703-368-0300

Senator Phil Puckett: 276-979-8181

Senator Frank Wagner: 757-671-2250

This Friday Is Deadline To Submit Abortion Center Comments To Board Of Health!

The deadline for online comments on the proposed Board of Health safety standards for abortion centers is this Friday, March 29, at 11:59 p.m. We encourage you to to do your part, if you have not already, to make your voice heard to the Board of Health to ensure the abortion center safety standards are made permanent. If you haven't already, please submit your comments before the online public forum closes. If you have, please share and forward this link to as many pro-life friends as possible through e-mail or your social media sites.

Click here to visit the Virginia Board of Health's Online Townhall. It is easy and take little time to submit your comments.

Our friends at the Virginia Catholic Conference have more information here, including bullet points on the issue and a sample letter. 

It only takes a few minutes to compose and submit comments online. For those who could not make it to the public forums in Richmond and Alexandria earlier this month, this is the ideal method for making your voice heard. A few minutes of your time can make a difference in a generational switch in policy to benefit the unborn and the safety of women who make the unfortunate choice of having an abortion. The other side is mobilized and submitting comments. It is essential that pro-life Virginians make their voices heard as well in this convenient, yet very effective way.

After filing your comments, please consider attending the Board of Health meeting in Richmond on Friday, April 12, where it will vote on whether to adopt the current abortion center safety standards permanently. Pro-life Virginians must demonstrate strength in numbers, both online and in person. The meeting will be at the Virginia Department of Health 2nd Floor Conference Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond. It will begin at 9:00 a.m. Due to limited space inside the meeting room, those who wish to attend are highly encouraged to arrive by 7:00.

The safety standards, which improve upon the emergency temporary standards that have been in place for more than a year, will continue to protect Virginia women who use abortion centers. Health inspections of these facilities, a feature of the current  temporary standards, have uncovered hundreds of violations since they  have been in place — demonstrating that the commonwealth's abortion industry cannot self-regulate itself. Permanent standards will ensure abortion centers' accountability for deficiencies.

If you plan to attend the Board of Health meeting, please e-mail Roger Pogge at or call (804) 343-oo10.