Wild Day At General Assembly Ends With Several Victories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not So Pretty In Pink

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

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

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

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

Paid for by The Family Foundation Action.

Senate Kills Life Bills, Passes Threats To Family

If the past two days aren't evidence enough that the Virginia Senate must change, we honestly don't know what is. In a 48-hour period since Wednesday, the Senate, where Democrats hold a 22-18 majority, has passed several bills that undermine the values of Virginia while defeating common sense measures that would reduce the number of abortions and advance a culture of life. On Wednesday, it passed legislation adding sexual orientation to state government's non-discrimination law (SB 747), a bill that gives state government agencies the ability to provide domestic partner benefits (SB 1122), and a proposal that is an attack on Virginia's abstinence centered family life education policy (SB 967).

In yesterday's Senate Education and Health Committee, five pro-life bills were defeated, including legislation that would have provided women seeking an abortion an opportunity to view an ultrasound (SB 1435); created wrongful death protections for the unborn (SB 1207 and SB 1378); and criminalized the act of coercing someone to have an abortion (SB 1217). The committee also rejected a bill that would prohibit health insurance companies that provide elective abortion coverage from participating in the state-run exchanges required by President Obama's federal health insurance scheme (SB 1202).

As in past years, the Senate has proven to be a killing field for pro-family, pro-life legislation, as well as the source of bills that undermine Virginia's values. The question now becomes, are pro-family Virginians finally tired of this? If so, this November all 40 members of the Senate face re-election. Let's face it — having the truth and the facts on our side, having a professional team of advocates to influence legislators, having a grassroots network across Virginia simply isn't enough. We have to change the people who sit in that chamber.

This year is our opportunity to break through this barrier and change the future of Virginia. We need to add more conservative voices to the Senate. When it had a Republican majority in the past the outcome wasn't much better. We need principled conservatives in office. The Family Foundation and The Family Foundation Action will do everything possible to ensure that Virginians know exactly what the stakes are — and which candidates stand with us and which stand against us — as the elections approach. Please click here to learn more about our Ignite Campaign and how you can help.

Please also know that there are several members of the Senate (15) that voted with The Family Foundation on every one of the bills. We thank them for their stand on principle. We especially thank those Senators who carried pro-life legislation this year, including Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), Ralph Smith (R-22, Botetourt) and Bill Stanley (R-19, Chatham).

Virginia News Stand: April 28, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Cultural Conservatism's Comeback (Or Was It Ever Really Dead?)

Who said cultural conservatism is dead? In Virginia last week, there was bipartisan support to end taxpayer funding of elective abortion and within the last 24 hours two major blows for traditional values — and constitutional law — occurred. Yesterday, the Oklahoma Senate joined with the House there in a bipartisan vote to override Democrat Governor Brad Henry's veto of an informed consent bill which would requires women seeking abortions to see an ultrasound of her baby and receive certain information, not terribly different than a bill we have advocated for in the General Assembly the last several years. (There is always hope!) Then, earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a memorial Cross on federal land in the Mojave Desert can stay, reversing a lower court ruling.

But was cultural conservatism dead? Hard to believe that when each state that has voted on a Marriage Amendment has passed it. The truth is that there are certain truths in life and embedded in the constitution. Only when they are purposefully misinterpreted and laws misapplied to achieve agenda goals are they ever defeated. But defeat is not death. Values endure. We've seen that in the last 24 hours.


Gov discusses Confederacy, felons' rights, condoms (The Daily Press)

Va. ponies up millions to add Northrop (Washington Examiner)

Albemarle tea party crashes Fifth District chairman’s endorsement (Richmond Times-Dispatch)


Ask The Governor (39:56) (WTOP/WTOP.com)

National News

Strict Abortion Measures Enacted in Oklahoma (New York Times)

States seek new ways to restrict abortions (USA Today)

High court supports Mojave cross in Calif. (AP/FoxNews.com)

High Court Says Mojave Desert Cross Can Remain (Wall Street Journal)

Sounding alarm on gonorrhea (Washington Times)

Poll finds Americans in an anti-incumbent mood as midterm elections near (Washington Post)

Reid: Senate to act on climate before immigration (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP eyes comeback for New England House seats (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Not us: Goldman execs deny wrongdoing in crisis (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama continues to hammer AZ immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

AG: Court challenge possible on immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)


How Arizona became center of immigration debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)


How Mexico Treats Illegal Aliens (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Trying To Make People Like Us (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

Arizona's 21-Bottle Salute (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

The Return of 'Social Utility' (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)

Pro-Life Bills Up Thursday In Senate Ed And Health

This Thursday the Senate Education and Health Committee will vote on several pro-life bills that are priorities of The Family Foundation. Please contact the members of the Ed and Health committee (see here) and urge them to pass the following bills:

HB 334 (Delegate Bob Marshall, R-13, Manassas): This bill would require that our Informed Consent law be updated to include information that has been published in a peer reviewed medical journal about the consequences of abortion on future pregnancies. Ironically, Planned Parenthood, which has accused pregnancy resource centers of disseminating information that is not "medically accurate," is opposed to this bill that requires the information given to women at Virginia's unregulated abortion centers to be exactly that —  medically accurate.

HB 393 (Delegate Matt Lohr, R-26, Harrisonburg): This legislation would require Virginia’s unregulated abortion centers to have on site life saving equipment, as well as require licensing and regular inspection. Currently, Virginia’s abortion centers are unregulated and uninspected.

HB 1042 (Delegate Kathy Byron, R-22, Lynchburg): This bill would require that unregulated abortion centers perform an ultrasound to better determine the gestational age of the unborn child prior to an abortion, and offer the woman seeking the abortion the opportunity to view the ultrasound. It would bring Virginia's Informed Consent law in line with modern medical technology.

If you are familiar at all with the Virginia General Assembly then you are aware just how antagonistic the majority of the Ed and Health committee usually is toward even the most reasonable pro-life legislation. On an annual basis, we see pro-life bills die on what we have begun to call "Black Thursday" — the last Thursday of committee hearings each session.

Why, bother contacting these legislators who seem so clearly opposed to protecting the unborn? There are several reasons:

First, past votes are not always indications of future action. Legislators change their minds. You may recall Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath), while running for governor, talking about "growing" as a legislator (he was referring to his flip-flop on the Marriage Amendment). We have worked with legislators who have become more and more pro-life over their time in the legislature, often through the education process associated with debate over these bills.

Which leads to a second reason, education. These bills offer us the opportunity to educate both legislators and the public on these important issues. They give you the opportunity to discuss controversial issues with friends and neighbors by talking about reasonable measures often supported by large majorities. Each time we present these bills to a committee we are able to reach more people with the message of the importance of protecting both the unborn and women who face a crisis pregnancy. You never know when a legislator is going to hear an argument that is going to change their opinion of a certain piece of legislation.

Finally, these votes expose where legislators currently are on reasonable abortion measures. Several members of the Ed and Health committee are in districts that have a pro-life  constituency. These senators mask as "moderate," but their voting records on these bills have exposed their real positions. Next year, when these senators are up for re-election, the voters in their districts will know exactly where they stand on these issues because they will have a four-year voting record to look at. Voters will then be able to hold them accountable for their votes.

So, please do your part. Contact the members of the Ed and Health committee and urge them to support HB 334, HB 393 and HB 1042.

Delegate Kathy Byron Addresses Family Foundation Activists

As part of our Virtual Lobby Day, we want to bring you as much flavor of the General Assembly as we can to those who can't make it to Richmond as often as they'd like. In fact, we continue to post videos of committee hearings on bills we support on our YouTube Channel as well as here, making this blog perhaps the best place for information about what your state government is doing. Tomorrow, and throughout session, we'll have more about what we're doing through the Internet and how you can help influence lawmakers. On January 18, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), a former Family Foundation Legislator of the Year, spoke to pro-family activists at our Family Foundation Day at the Capitol. She focused on two pro-life bills she is carrying this session: HB 1033 (defining a baby as separate from the mother's body) and HB 1042 (requiring an ultrasound before an abortion). Both bills are still alive. Click on them to get more information and learn where you need to direct your e-mails.

Delegate Kathy Byron speaks on behalf of the unborn — and the born in patroning the "baby bill" this session.

A Real Choice, An Informed Choice

In the House today, HB 1042, patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), which would require a woman seeking an abortion to see an ultrasound of her baby, was reported from the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee to the full committee on a 7-3 vote, with only the predictably liberal pro-abortion members voting no. Delegate Byron calmly refuted claims by Planned Parenthood and NARAL and their chief legislative ally on the sub-committee, Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-71, Richmond). Interestingly, Planned Parenthood and NARAL claimed ultrasounds would cost several hundred dollars, much more than the $400 they claimed abortions cost. In fact, ultrasounds can cost as little as $30 and are free at crisis pregnancy centers. As Delegate Byron said, if "pro-choice" advocates truly want "choice" then why not get a good look at the "choice" and make "a real choice, an informed choice"?

Delegate Kathy Byron asks what's wrong with making a real choice, an informed choice?

NARAL, General Assembly Allies Attack Apolitical Pregnancy Resource Centers

Today, NARAL ProChoice Virginia Foundation held a press conference to announce legislation  that seeks to remove the funding stream available to pregnancy resource centers from the purchase of "Choose Life" license plates. The bills are SB 188, patroned by Senator Ralph Northam (D-6, Norfolk) and HB 452, patroned by Delegate Charniele Herring(D-46, Alexandria). These harmful bills seek to require new state regulations on all PRCs, including the following stipulations:

» Placement of a sign on the outside of the center stating, "that it does not perform or refer women for abortions, that it does not provide or refer women for contraception, and that the facility is not required to maintain medical confidentiality or medical records in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)."

» Collection by the state of all materials distributed at the center.

» Signature by a center’s board member stating that they comply with "all aspects of Heartbeat International, Inc.'s 'Commitment of Care' and that the center provides only factually and medically accurate information about pregnancy, contraception, and abortion to a person seeking counseling, information, or assistance from the center."

» Violation of these accuracy policies by any employee or even a volunteer is subject to a civil penalty.

In announcing the legislation, NARAL released a year-long study "revealing the misinformation and deception" of these centers. Among the study’s claims:

» PRCs rely on deceptive advertising. The example given is of "highly visible" billboards on "well traveled roads" with text such as, "Pregnant? Scared? Need Help? Call us!" Apparently these signs "incite a potential client to call" because they misconstrue it to be a so-called "comprehensive reproductive health care clinic." In case you are wondering, this deceptive advertising of centers can also be found in the yellow pages when you find these centers under "Abortion Alternatives."

» Evasive Phone Conversations: The report claims that "If a young woman facing an unintended pregnancy did not know to ask, she would not be told the limits of the crisis pregnancy center's services."

» Appearance as Medical Clinics: According to the report, "The center looked like a small doctor’s office. There was a waiting room . . . an office with a glass check-in window. In the bathroom, there was a place to put my urine sample in the wall like at my doctor’s office. ... The ultrasound room looked like a room at my gynecologist’s office."

» Lacks Confidentiality: PRCs are not required by law to abide by federal standards of confidentiality (HIPAA) but, in fact, they do so voluntarily. This report calls out the fact that some centers provide literature that plainly states that if you are a minor, "the center may give certain information to parents or guardians." Imagine that! Including parents in the decision. I thought that was actually the law of Virginia!

» Medically Inaccurate Information: During today’s press conference, Senator Northam (a medical doctor) highlighted the fact that centers were found to mention a link between abortion and breast cancer that does not exist. This is an area of serious medical debate. Just last year a study was published in a prestigious, peer reviewed medical journal containing an admission from U.S. National Cancer Institute researcher Louise Brinton and her colleagues that in fact abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40 percent. Dr. Northam is not apparently keeping up with the medical literature.

»The study also states that, "CPCs use the ploy of a medical ultrasound to show a woman a fetus and execute an emotional appeal, despite it being an unnecessary medical procedure."

As I told the media today in response to NARAL's fallacious claims, Virginia’s lucrative abortion industry is watching women make a different choice than they want them to make and it’s eating into their profits. This new legislation is nothing more than an attempt to scare women from making a choice different than abortion. PRCs have assisted thousands of women in Virginia through crisis pregnancies and not a single woman has ever died. Virginia’s abortion centers cannot say the same.

The Family Foundation will be the guardian of these centers, which faithfully try to serve women in need. But we need your help. In a few short days, I will provide another update on this legislation as it moves into committee. But we need you to contact your legislators and tell them about the wonderful work PRCs do.

We also need you to do something else. Please show your support of these pregnancy resource centers as they face an unwarranted battle in the political arena. Please consider doing one of the following two things: Purchase a Choose Life Plate, $15 of which will fund these centers or call the PRC near you and thank them for their service. If you are able, consider financially supporting them. You can imagine, due to the high costs of operating The Family Foundation, I rarely make appeals on behalf of other organizations, but the work they do is tireless. While the political battle is critical, the front lines cannot be under-resourced.

Finally, if you have been helped by a PRC or you know of someone who benefited from their work, would you consider joining The Family Foundation in defeating this legislation? Would you testify or at least meet with a legislator? If so, please contact our office immediately at 804-343-0010.

Pew Poll Confirms Tide Has Turned In Abortion Debate

In late August, Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds took what most political analysts said was a gamble when he began hammering Republican Bob McDonnell on the issue of abortion — and in contradiction of his pledge to leave social issues out of the campaign. Many thought Deeds' lackluster campaign was looking for an issue that would motivate his base, but at the risk of alienating independent voters. Thursday, the Pew Research Center for People & the Press released a national survey (see Pew) that might indicate the Deeds move was the wrong one. Said Pew:

Recently, Americans have become more opposed to legal abortion.

In fact, the division between those who believe abortion should be illegal in almost all cases is nearly even with those who believe it should be legal in most cases, a significant shift. Plus, the number of those who think abortion should be more difficult to obtain also increased (see U.S. News & World Report).

But what should worry Deeds the most is that liberal Democrats polled have lost an extraordinary amount of intensity on the issue. According to Pew:

There has been a 26-point drop since 2006 in the proportion of liberal Democrats who say abortion is a critical issue, from 34 percent to 8 percent.

Ooops! So much for energizing the base.

As with any abortion poll, the news is mixed, but it discloses many positive trends. For example, it indicates an important shift in public opinion away from abortion on demand. It confirms a Gallup poll from May (see Gallup) that shows more Americans consider themselves pro-life than "pro-choice" for the first time in that poll's history.

So, we are winning this issue on a daily basis by changing hearts and minds. It is nearly impossible to look at the beauty shown by an ultrasound and not recognize the humanity that exists. Any woman who has heard the heartbeat of her unborn child for the first time and then sees the image of that child inside her is drawn naturally to the conclusion that it is a human life worth defending.

More and more people are drawn to that defense, too. Virginians and Americans are joining together for the next several weeks for 40 Days for Life. We urge you to join with them (see how, here) in praying for more hearts and minds to change. Also, call your local pregnancy resource center and lend a hand. Reach out to a woman in crisis and provide for her needs. Together, through prayer and action, and through God’s blessing, we will one day live in a nation that respects all human life — born and unborn.

Tomorrow, In Ed & Health

Tomorrow, the infamous Senate Education and Health Committee will vote on two pro-life measures. While the committee has seen these bills in past years and defeated them, we will once again bring these reasonable pro-life bills to it for consideration. HB 2579, patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) is a bill that would provide a woman contemplating abortion the option to view her ultrasound prior to an abortion. This is merely an update to the informed consent laws already on the books in Virginia. Currently, a woman is offered a pamphlet with generic pictures showing gestational age; however, an ultrasound would give the woman information specific to her child.

Furthermore, an ultrasound provides for a "safer" abortion in that the gestational age of the child is known, not guessed. After 13 weeks gestation, an abortion must be performed in a hospital — an ultrasound can determine the age. HB 2579, therefore, provides for medical as well as legal responsibility, safety for the mother, and truly informed consent.

While HB 2579 passed the House with a vote of 62-36, it is likely to face increased scrutiny in the Senate committee coined the "graveyard" and the "Committe of Death" for its infamous reputation for killing pro-life bills. However, with your prayers and action, anything is possible. Please urge these Senators to vote for HB 2579 and, with that vote, make a pro-woman, pro-child decision.

Another pro-life bill, HB 2634, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge) also will be before the committee. This important piece of legislation would add information about the sensitivity to pain of unborn children to informed consent materials. This bill passed the House of Delegates, 64-34.

There is overwhelming medical evidence which suggest that an unborn baby does experience the discomfort we refer to as pain. This being the case there is an issue on which all sides of the abortion debate could join together. It's common sense and it's compassionate — provide information to the mother that lets her know her unborn child can feel pain, and allow her the option of having anesthesia administered to her unborn child undergoing an abortion procedure. 

As straightforward and sympathetic as this might seem, there are forces right here in the Commonwealth who are in opposition to such a suggestion. The good news is you can make your voice heard louder than theirs and once again stand up for those who can't speak for themselves.

Although these bills will meet a tough challenge you can make a difference by contacting members of the Senate Education and Health Committee (click here for contact information) now and letting them know you want them to support this compassionate measure.

Virginia News Stand: February 10, 2009

The News Stand is back! It's hard to search out these articles each day during session with lobbying, videotaping, regular blogging, etc., on the agenda. So — ironic as it is — we are posting fewer News Stands during session (as we mentioned would be likely), even though there are more articles on state issues now than any other time of year. The good news? The articles today concern priority bills of ours. The bad news? Several deal with our public prayer bill that went down to defeat yesterday in — where else? — a Senate committee. Two others deal with Delegate Kathy Byron's (R-22, Bedford) ultrasound/enhanced informed consent bill, HB 2579, which passed the House earlier today with 60-plus votes and is on to the Senate — most likely Ed and Health (start contacting members now; click here). Plus, I think today's "Capitol South" is particularly funny and relevant. It's about Vern the intern and the senator.


Va. Senate panel votes down bill allowing sectarian prayers (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Senate panel rejects public-prayer bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Prayer bill killed in committee (Roanoke Times)

Senate panel defeats bill aimed at meeting prayers (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Byron's ultrasound bill awaits final House vote (Lynchburg News and Advance

Va., 10 other states consider law requiring ultrasound before abortion  (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Editorial Comic:

"Capitol South" (William Warren, GetLiberty.org)

Family Foundation Pastors' Day At The Capitol

This Thursday is the official lobby day for Planned Parenthood. If history repeats itself, this leading provider of abortion will bring hundreds of people to the capitol to ask our law makers to turn a blind eye to the abortion industry. They will say the following:      

» Abortion is a birth control option that should be exercised as one sees fit.

» Drugs, such as emergency contraception, that have the potential to take a human life from conception, should be made more readily available — even to teenage girls.

» Legislation to encourage women to have the opportunity to see an ultrasound prior to making their decision regarding abortion, parenting or adoption is a form of coercion.

The Family Foundation counters these untruths with truth. We do this through a number of ways, especially by engaging grassroots citizen activists — for example, through our Lobby Day at the Capitol and our new Virtual Lobby Day. Now, we also are engaging pastors, encouraging them to counter untruth with prayer and presence. Thus, we are countering Planned Parenthood's lobby day not only with our virtual lobby day (click here to learn how to participate), but with a Pastors Lobby Day. These dozens of pastors will make a big impact and be a significant contrast to the pro-abortion types patrolling the General Assembly Building's halls on February 5.

Here's some of the pastors' agenda Thursday:

Nicknamed the "Committee of Death," they will attend the Senate Education and Health Committee, which reviews all bills relating to pregnancy and abortion. Nearly every time a pro-life bill has been brought to this committee in the last decade has been defeated, refusing to recognize the sanctity of human life.

Pastors also will get an update from the patrons of positive life restoring measures introduced this session of the Virginia General Assembly. 

In addition, Bill Haywood, of Abingdon Church of Christ, also will speak. He has taken it upon himself to organize pastors in his region to defeat the Freedom of Choice Act, a federal measure that will undo nearly all laws in Virginia that protect children who seek abortions and women who might be taken advantage of in a difficult situation.  

One of the six state police chaplains who resigned when he was ordered by the Kaine administration to not pray "in Jesus name" also will speak. Pastors and lay people have rallied behind these brave chaplains and we want  everyone to continue to be engaged on this issue as we challenge the administration's decision through corrective legislation. To cap off the day, the pastors will meet with legislators in the afternoon.

If you are a pastor who is interested, or if you think your pastor is interested, it is not too late to register. Call Suzanne at (804) 343-0010 or e-mail John Smith at john@familyfoundation.org.