sanctity of human life

Hundreds Attend Virginia Stands For Life Rally, Send Huge Message To General Assembly! #VAStands4Life14

Hundreds of pro-life Virginians traveled across the commonwealth and braved cold temperatures to send the General Assembly a clear message: Virginians oppose the abhorrence of abortion and expect lawmakers to uphold the sanctity of life (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). Keynote speaker Lila Rose vividly illustrated that message and the particularly heinous nature of abortion from her unique perspective as founder of Live Action, a new media pro-life investigative organization that goes undercover to expose the abortion industry's corruption and abuse. Ms. Rose founded Live Action at age 15 and has had Planned Parenthood on the run ever since. Later, she spoke to dozens of pastors at a Pastors For Family Values luncheon.

Joining her in speaking to the attendees were emcee Olivia Gans Turner of American Victims of Abortion; Susan Null, executive director of the Harrisonburg Pregnancy Center;  and Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb. The Reverend Bob Collins, founding pastor of World Outreach Worship Center, prayed the invocation. Afterward, attendees visited their delegates and senators to encourage them to support pro-life legislation, maintain the gains made the last three years, and oppose actions that would make abortion more available.

Hundreds of pro-life Virginians turned out today at Mr. Jefferson's capitol to support the sanctity of human Life. (Photo courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch.)

Here is the official statement of the 14 partner organizations, including The Family Foundation, that hosted the 2014 Virginia Stands for Life Gathering (#VAStands4Life14):

This morning hundreds of pro-life Virginians came together to stand united in support of the sanctity of human life and to remind elected officials and the public that the pro-life movement in Virginia is thriving. The women and men at the event celebrated the 16 percent drop in Virginia's abortion rate over the past three years (a 22 percent drop among Virginia women), while hoping to encourage Virginia's elected officials to remain steadfast in their support of protective pro-life laws and legislation.

Several national and state pro-life organizations united together for today’s rally, bringing their supporters to Richmond to encourage reasonable and protective measures that seek to protect the lives of unborn children, the elderly and those with disabilities. With a new incoming administration, the organizers of today's peaceful event encouraged our elected officials to stand strong in the face of attempts to erode the significant recent pro-life gains that protect innocent unborn life and women.

All of the organizations and their constituents who were represented in this rally are committed to continuing to defend and advance the cause of unborn life, access to adoption, and the protection of human life. We will continue to voice the truth about the value of human life. As more Americans become pro-life every day, we are optimistic about the future for the unborn and the vulnerable in America and Virginia.   

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The Fab Four. Virginia's leading pro-life women, from left: Virginia Podboy of the Virginia Catholic Conference; Lila Rose of Live Action; TFF's Victoria Cobb; and Olivia Gans Turner of National Right To Life's American Victims of Abortion.

No More Excuses!

Throughout the last several weeks on this blog we've asked you to come to Richmond this upcoming Wednesday, January 9, for the Virginia Stands for Life Prayer Walk and Gathering. If you have RSVP'd that you will attend, thank you! We are thrilled that you will join us. If you have pushed aside making a decision — as yet another event bombarding you after the hectic holiday season — we urge you to reconsider. Be willing to inconvenience yourself for just one day in order to stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. Our legislators desperately need to hear Virginia proclaim the sanctity of human life. We have already heard that pro-abortion activists plan to rally weekly at the capitol. Don't let them be your voice in your silence.

Remember, this year we are not holding our normal Day at the Capitol or "Lobby Day" as it is commonly called. This is it! This is your chance to make contact with your legislators and show them Virginia is a pro-life state.

Still not convinced? Here are the answers for some possible excuses to not attend:

Excuse 1: It’s too cold.

Actually, January 9's weather is predicted to be 52 degrees and sunny. Not bad for January in Virginia!

Excuse 2: I've been to my fair share of pro-life rallies. This won't be any different?

The point of this event is to show legislators and elected officials that we are pro-life and that we are the majority. The Virginia pro-life movement took a beating last year from late night comedy show hosts and the liberal media. This year, we need to generate a sizeable crowd that legislators and the media cannot ignore. The pro-life movement must return strong and reinvigorated! The success of our pro-life message depends on it.

Excuse 3: I haven't registered.

No problem. The event is free and registration is as simple as clicking here! Don't wait any longer. Register to let us know you are coming!

Excuse 4: I might not know anyone.

Invite a friend. Visit the event's web page for information and forward the link to a friend, and share it on your social media sites. That'll turn up the interest by your friends.

Excuse 5: I don't want to stand all day long.

For those who cannot participate in the Prayer Walk or stand for a long time due to physical limitations, we have reserved House Room 3 in the Capitol from 9:00-10:00 a.m. where you can go to wait for the start of the gathering at 10:00. Enter the Capitol at the Bank Street entrance (at the bottom of the hill) and it is the first room on your right.

Excuse 6: Richmond is too far. I don’t want to drive in at the break of dawn.

We have reserved a block of rooms for Tuesday, January 8 at the Holiday Inn Express, 201 East Cary Street. They are only $89 per night. There is a combination of king and double rooms. The hotel will provide shuttle service to the Bell Tower (eight blocks) for the gathering and to the Greater Richmond Convention Center (six blocks) for those attending the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast and/or the Prayer Walk. To reserve a room at this special rate, call the hotel directly at 804-788-1600 and tell them you are booking with The Family Foundation. Check out time is 11:00 a.m., but there is a room to hold your bags and you can leave your car there past checkout (parking is $10.00 in addition to the room charge), so you won't have to pay for parking twice. This is also the cheapest parking you will find in Richmond that day.

Excuse 7: I don’t know where to park.

For those coming to the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast and/or the Prayer Walk, the best parking will be at the Convention Center itself. You enter its lot on 3rd Street. If you are only coming to the Gathering at the Bell Tower, there is limited parking at the SunTrust Building. You enter that lot off of Cary Street between 9th and 10th Streets. We have posted a map of parking lots on our website, although during session some of these are monthly parking only. Click here and scroll to the third page to view the map. You should plan to arrive early to ensure plenty of time to find a parking place, especially those coming for the Gathering only at 10:00 a.m.

That's it. Not much to it. Just click, register and attend. Then feel free to look up your legislators afterward. We look forward to seeing you in Richmond at this most important pro-life event!

Ask The House Not To Fund Failed Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Two years ago, we partnered with the Virginia Catholic Conference to hammer out an agreement with the biotech community to ensure that state funded research performed in Virginia would not involve embryonic stem cells or aborted fetuses.  The clause was added to all legislation involving biotech research in Virginia, thus protecting citizens of the Commonwealth from subsidizing unethical research. In 2010, the same agreement stood.  Now, it's 2011 and the debate over the pro-life amendment is once again taking place.   There are several bills this year originating from both chambers that would provide research and development tax credits to biotech companies. In order to prevent the funding of unethical research, each and every bill must include the pro-life amendment. The House Finance Committee added an amendment in line with the 2009 and 2010 pro-life amendment to one of these bills (HB 1447). Now, the amended bill will be voted on by the full House of Delegates tomorrow.   The Family Foundation and our pro-life partners at the Catholic Conference firmly believe that Virginia taxpayers should not be asked to pay for or subsidize research that involves the destruction of human embryos or the use of aborted fetuses (see position paper here and our recently completed study, Do No Harm, here). Not only is such research unethical, embryonic stem cell research has been a complete failure. That is the reason researchers cannot attract private investment and is looking for your tax dollars to subsidize their failed research — no one will pour money into a failure. So researchers have turned to (who else?) — the government — to subsidize failure. If we are going to subsidize research in Virginia, it should be in adult stem cell research, which is producing real results — real science providing real hope and real cures.   It is crucial that your delegate hear from you by tomorrow morning before the floor session begins. Legislators need to hear that the funding of life-destroying research will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth. Contact your delegate now and urge him or her to cast a vote in acknowledgment of the sanctity of human life (click here for contact information or click here to find out who your delegate is).

Far Left SPLC Tries To Smear Pro-Family Organizations; Time To Stop Hating, Start Debating

We all remember the rhyme "sticks and stones," and those of us in the pro-family movement are certainly used to being called just about every name in the book. So the recent attack by the far left Southern Poverty Law Center (see Christianity Today) on Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage certainly doesn’t bother me — but it does reflect the desperation of the far left. Unfortunately, SPLC and other leftist organizations have gone as far as urge that pro-family spokespersons, such as the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, be denied the opportunity to be guests on national news programs. In response to the SPLC's labeling of pro-family organizations and leaders as "hate groups," The Family Foundation has joined with nearly 150 other national and state organizations to denounce the SPLC's attack and call for a civil debate on the merits of the issues.

Name-calling reveals a lack of strength and character — and of valid arguments. By dismissing debate and dialogue, SPLC and its liberal funders simply are avoiding having their assumptions challenged.

The Family Foundation and the other pro-family groups that have signed on to the response welcome the debate. We have the truth, the facts, on our side. To read more about the response, go to startdebatingstophating.com. You also can sign onto the response at that site (and share this link to encourage others to do so).

We are proud of our association with Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund and the other nearly 40 Family Policy Councils around the country! It is indeed sad that the divisions in our country have brought us to the point where believing that marriage as we have always known it — between a man and a woman — is viewed as hateful. It is even more distressing that there are organizations working, literally, to silence voices that carry the pro-family, pro-life message.

We are blessed with tens of thousands of people across Virginia who support The Family Foundation and our pro-family message! You and I know that our principles, our values, make society stronger and more stable. That is a message that will not be silenced!

Help Direct Virginia In The Right Direction: Commonwealth Looking To Fill Hundreds Of Appointments To Boards And Commissions

Do you want to play a greater role in shaping policy and the Commonwealth’s future? Submit your application or nominate someone to one of Virginia’s 345 volunteer boards and commissions. This is a great opportunity for your voice to be heard on issues that are important to the families of Virginia — issues such as the sanctity of human life, reducing the divorce rate, reforming the education system, streamlining government and saving taxpayer dollars. Nine-hundred appointments will be made by June. To ensure that Virginia heads in a conservative direction, it’s important that pro-family, pro-traditional values applicants apply. These boards and commissions often have a significant influence on enacted policy. In order for the advancement of pro-family values, it is vital that the recommendations and decisions they make reflect what we believe.

The application process begins today and ends on April 15. Click here to visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Web site for more information, position requirements, or to submit an application/nomination. Some boards require certain expertise or geographical representation, so be sure to check the details of each position before applying/nominating. If you submit an application/nomination, please notify The Family Foundation so we can assist in the process where possible.

Some of the specific positions that The Family Foundation believes are important to fill with conservative minds are:

Board of Education, Commonwealth Health Research Board, Board of Social Work, Fair Housing Board, Charitable Gaming Board, all state college and university Boards, the Governor's Advisory Board on National and Community Service, Council on the Status of Women, State Council for Higher Education, Virginia Public Broadcasting, Virginia Housing Development Authority, Virginia Biotech Research Park Authority, Board of Trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Workforce Council, State Board of Health, Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Pharmacy, Board of Counseling, Board of Psychology, Board of Social Services, Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, Board of Trustees, Family and Children's Trust Fund, Commonwealth Council of Aging, Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits, Board of Directors, VCU Health, Library Board, Virginia Code Commission, Virginia Commission on Youth, State Board of Corrections, Criminal Justice Services Board, Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, Commonwealth Transportation Board, NOVA Transportation Authority, Board of Health Professions, Racing Commission, Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, Education Commission of the States, Council on Virginia’s Future, Commonwealth Competition Council, and the Professional and Occupational Regulation Board.

The Family Foundation's Official Statement To HHS On Medical Professionals Conscience Protections

Below is The Family Foundation of Virginia's official statement, released this week, to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding its consideration of ending regulations that protect the ethical standards and consciences of medical professionals. HHS is seeking public comments on the proposed rollback through today. For information on how to e-mail HHS, click here. 

Official Statement By The Family Foundation of Virginia to the Department of Health and Human Services Regarding Medical Professionals Conscience Protection Regulations

The Family Foundation of Virginia, the Commonwealth's oldest and largest pro-family advocacy organization, urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to leave in place the current regulations protecting the conscience rights of health care workers. These regulations are needed due to protect the conscience rights of America's health care workers from increased efforts to force these care givers to violate their personal ethics. The area of discrimination that has increased the most involves the issue of the sanctity of human life. 

Examples of this assault include national medical organizations that oppose conscience rights in the area of abortion. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) issued certification requirements last year that could lead to discrimination against obstetricians or gynecologists because they tie their certification requirements to pro-abortion principles adapted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). If an obstetrician or gynecologist disagrees with ACOG's ethical stance, he or she could face decertification by ABOG. In other words, a highly skilled health care worker could lose their ability to treat patients simply because of their ethical stance against abortion. Another example involves medical organizations that would force pharmacists to dispense drugs, such as emergency contraception, that they find unethical because the drug can lead to the destruction of a human embryo by preventing implantation. 

Otherwise qualified health care workers should not be treated as second-class citizens simply because of their personal ethics. Health care professionals should not be forced to violate their consciences simply to fulfill the politically motivated demands of others. Therefore, we urge you to keep these protections in place.

Tomorrow, We Will Choose . . .

Tomorrow, the citizens of the freest nation in the world will once again choose their leader. This time, however, it seems certain that the choice is not just about a person or a party, but about the very essence of our nation.Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that has a quarter century record of voting to protect human life in its most vulnerable form, or a candidate that believes it is in the nation's best interest to allow newborn children who survive late-term abortions to simply die. Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is worth defending, or a candidate that believes the definition of marriage is malleable.

Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes parents should have the option to send their children to whatever school they wish, public or private, or a candidate that believes teaching sex education to kindergartners is good for America.

Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes hard working families should be free to keep more of their hard earned incomes, or a candidate that believes continuing to allow families that freedom is bad for America and that income should be redistributed as the government sees fit.

The differences between John McCain and Barack Obama are staggering. You can read more about these differences at The Family Foundation Action Web site (click here). (Also while there, review the Congressional voter guide that shows the vast differences between candidates for U.S. Senate, Jim Gilmore (click here) and Mark Warner (click here), and Congressional races.)

But in truth, this election is not simply about the issues listed above. It is about freedom.  It is about the freedom to make decisions about our families, our incomes and our faith that the government has no business being involved with. It is about whether or not the document that "holds these truths to be self evident" is still relevant in our society. 

We are not ready to give up on the Founding Fathers vision! We are not ready to turn our lives over to a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., to determine what my health care needs are, how we can or cannot live our faith in the public square, how our families' income should be spent, or how the very institutions on which society is based are defined.

This nation and its Judeo-Christian heritage are worth getting up early, standing in line, bringing a family friend or neighbor or fellow church member along with us, and casting our ballots for the candidates who believe in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage and the freedom to prosper. This nation is worth ignoring the prognosticators, the polls, and the media's overwhelming and blatant disregard for facts and truth — and the blatant and below the belt attacks this year on candidates of faith, who respect life, traditional marriage and traditional values.

In short, it is worth your vote. Please, tomorrow, vote. Vote for the God ordained values and truths that our society must protect in order to survive. 

Tomorrow, pray, vote, then go home and pray more.