unborn child

Manufactured Abortion Outrage

You have probably heard by now that state Senator Steve Martin has found himself in a bit of a brouhaha over a comment he made on Facebook over the weekend. And while the fact that a Facebook comment merits news coverage at all is an indictment on Western civilization in and of itself, the manufactured hysterical reaction of the abortion industry to sarcasm — yes, sarcasm — is simply fascinating. Our friends at Bearing Drift have a couple of takes on "MartinGate" here and here. Both are good reads. It is interesting that the abortion industry recognizes someone who is pregnant is a "mother," the definition of "mother" implying parenthood, which, of course, requires the existence of a child. As in the unborn child.

But I'm more interested in the fact that the abortion and gay rights obsessed Richmond Times Dispatch jumped all over the abortion industry's press release and ran with it. Apparently, an abortion industry press release about a sarcastic Facebook post earns a story in that once proud newspaper.  But over the past three years, not a single story can be found in the Richmond Times Dispatch that examines the abortion centers in Richmond that had multiple health and safety violations — all of which was shared with the RT-D through numerous press releases. You know, the unsanitary conditions, the lack of safety policies, the ownership of one Richmond center by someone who has had abortion centers shut down by health officials in other states. Nope, not a word in the old RT-D.

It's a shame. There are some good reporters at the RT-D, people who work hard and do their jobs well. But I really have to wonder why they (or is it the editors?) are so animated by the abortion industry being "offended" by a Facebook comment, and so uninterested in women being put in danger by abortion centers in their own city.

GA Update: This Week's Abortion Votes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Lethal Assault Against The Very Idea Of Human Rights That Destroys The Moral Foundation Of Our Democracy

The voice in this video is that of the late Henry Hyde, author of the Hyde Amendment, which for decades with bipartisan support has precluded federal funds for the use of abortion . . . until Obamacare. It is one of the most powerful two minutes you will ever hear. There are no poetic words nor profound phrases possible to enhance or explain his thoughts or his passion. The video was produced by our friends at  FRC Action.

"We risk our souls, we risk our humanity, when we trifle with that innocence or demean it or brutalize it. The supporters of abortion on demand have exercised an amazing capacity of self-deception by detaching themselves from any sympathy whatsoever for the unborn child." 

Incredible Irony: Pro-Abortion Obama White House Considers Unborn Babies People For Security

Politicians and hypocrisy are no strangers. Big Government bureaucracy and red tape that creates procedures and jargon less understandable than Martian long ago became a begrudging fact of life when dealing with, and trying to comprehend, Washington (and even state an local officials of the government class). But the sheer absurdity of the latest from the Obama White House defies all comprehension. Apparently, the White House, under the management of the most pro-abortion-on- demand president ever — the same people who attempt to dehumanize unborn children by refusing to call them anything but a "fetus" or a "zygote" — requires pregnant women guests to register their unborn children as visitors! Last week it was disclosed that the Director of the White House Visitor's Office, Ellie Shafer, e-mailed members of Congress and others providing detailed instructions on how to register an unborn child during White House visits for security reasons. Never mind out of control Secret Service agents or White House state dinner party crashers; never mind Homeland Security two years ago stating that Tea Party members and Christian conservatives were potential security risks. The Obama administration is all over that massive threat the invasion of  unborn children pose to the White House.

Ms. Shafer's memo, in full:

We have received a number of calls regarding how to enter security information for a baby that has not yet been born.

Crazy as it may sound, you MUST include the baby in the overall count of guests in the tour. It’s an easy process.

LAST NAME: The family’s last name

FIRST NAME: "Baby" as a first name

MIDDLE NAME: NMN as in No Middle Name

DOB: Use the date you are submitting the request to us as their birthday

GENDER: if the parents know put that gender down if not, you can enter either M or F as we’ll ask you to update it at the time of birth

SOCIAL: As they will not have a SSN and are under 18, you will not need to enter this field. Again if the spreadsheet asked for a social enter 9 zero’s (not the word nine zeros but 000000000 and yes it happens!)

CITIZEN/CITY/STATE: The citizen, city and state should be entered the same as the parents

The White House not only wants the information requested, but follow up information after the baby is born! Of course, that's assuming the baby is born. Right there, in the District of Columbia, it is legal to abort an unborn child right up until the moment of birth (see NRLC.org).

Douglas Johnson, the National Right to Life Committee's legislative director, told Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com:

It is ironic that President Obama’s staff recognizes the existence of unborn babies for purposes of providing security within the White House — yet, there is no indication that President Obama has any problem with the fact that throughout the District of Columbia, abortion is now legal for any reason up to the moment of birth. Notably, the (e-mail) provides no guidance on what the staff should do if an unborn baby is first registered for security purposes, but then aborted.

Maybe the Obama White House, which doesn't seem to mind "sanctuary cities," is creating a sanctuary for unborn children — visit the White House, escape D.C. abortionists. Confirming its intention of counting the unborn child as a person, the form even considers the day of the visit request as the date of birth. (Imagine the president's headache, making phone call apologies to all the pro-abortion groups and allies in Congress.)

Another great irony, pointed out by GOPUSA.com founder and columnist Bobby Eberle, is that pro-abortion and left-wing groups oppose fetal rights and protections bills in the Congress and state legislatures, claim that it is impossible to give "a bunch of cells" rights, privileges and protections, and to do so would make contraception illegal, and contort the legal system by allowing a non-living being the right to sue, yada, yada, yada. Meanwhile, the man they thought could lower the level of the seas may not have accomplished that goal, but he has given life to the unborn, legitimized the pro-life argument and undercut his pro-abortion allies — all in one of those ironic, bureaucratic ways. That does give us hope for change.

The Pro Choice Crisis?

It's been interesting to watch the pro-choice movement over the years. Admittedly, I wasn't around to do much watching in the 1970s right after Roe v. Wade. However, it appears that the general perspective was that the unborn child, as I would refer to him or her, was considered little more than a blob of tissue pretty much until it was born and wanted. That belief has been shown to be fiction over time as science has proved what I've always known as a matter of my faith — that it's a human being much earlier than that, as in from conception. The first shift in discussing abortion that I recall started with the concept of viability. The earlier a baby could be born and survive, the more folks on all sides had to acknowledge that it must be more than a blob at some point, though defining that particular point was difficult for pro-aborts. Currently, this once-called blob can survive outside the womb at 21 weeks.

To make matters worse for the abortion movement, Time magazine and others started reporting on fetal surgery and how the unborn child would react to stimuli doctors used in the womb. Then GE launched the 4D ultrasound. Now, the non-biased viewer saw things a lot clearer than the black and white skeletal image to which people had grown accustomed.

These scientific advances have caused a change in dialogue (and a change in opinion?). Of late, one mostly hears groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL talk not in terms of who's in the womb, but in terms of the circumstances the woman faces that merit her taking of human life: the pregnant mom is in poverty, a victim of rape, wouldn't be able to complete her education, "health care." These are real situations and not ones to make light of. However, recent news is bringing to light other circumstances that result in abortion — sex selection and extra embryos.

Not long ago we reported on sex selective abortions. While most associate this problem with India or China's one-child policy (something Joe Biden "understands," see Lisa Graas at LiveAction Blog), the use of sex selection is alive and well in the U.S (see New York Times). Unlike the UK and other places where such a practice has been banned, here it is perfectly legal. It can be done through abortion or one can simply fly to Las Vegas and pay $20,000 to choose an embryo by gender to implant through in vitro fertilization. Even if one doesn't choose to implant a specific sex but implants multiple embryos, one can engage in "twin reduction." This is the process whereby IVF clients implant multiple embryos and when they thrive in the womb, the “parents” then choose one embryo to eliminate through abortion. Given two healthy babies, sex selection can be the basis for that decision. After all, according to Gallup, 45 percent of respondents would choose a boy if they could have only one child, a number nearly double those choosing a girl (27 percent cited no preference).

Couple this practice with recent news of a 95-percent-plus accurate blood test that determines the sex of an unborn child at seven weeks (at least seven-13 weeks earlier than the oft-used ultrasound method, see CBSNews.com), and you see where this is leading. Much like the 4D ultrasound, used only for high-risk pregnancies but available commercially, some in the medical community use this blood test to detect sex-related genetic disorders, but it also is available for purchase by customers of all stripes. In a largely meaningless gesture, the primary seller of the kit, Consumer Genetics, Inc., does require an agreement from purchasers stating that the purpose of testing is not sex selection before it processes the results.

Both "twin reduction" and "sex selection" do appear to be causing some heartburn among "pro-choicers (see William Saletan at Slate.com).When the movement was focused on a blob of tissue, no discussion of motivation was necessary. Since scientific advances have forced proponents of abortion to turn the discussion into a balance between the needs of the mother and the value of the unborn child, motivation becomes relevant. Is abortion acceptable under any and all circumstances? Should someone be able to create a child, implant it and then choose to extinguish its perfectly healthy life as a result of it being one more than was intended? Doesn't the fact that they consciously attempt to create a child prove it is a life? Is it acceptable to society that a woman may choose to get pregnant as frequently as she chooses and abort any number of times to get the desired "boy" result on the seven week blood test?

Interestingly enough, we may have discovered a point where feminism contradicts itself. Can feminism hold onto the view that a woman has a "right to choose" in all circumstances, even if it results in legalized inequality between sexes in the womb?

While this blood test tragically may increase abortion, it has potential fatal ramification for the "pro-choice" movement: This once-called blob of tissue now not only has a discernable heartbeat at six weeks, its sex can be determined at seven. Those defending abortion on demand continue to run headlong into the great words of Dr. Suess: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

Life Bills In Senate Education And Health Committee Thursday!

It's that time of session again. Thursday, the Senate Education and Health Committee will vote on multiple pro-life bills. This is the committee that has blocked meaningful pro-life legislation for years. Despite the history, we still want to make sure every member of that committee knows where their constituents stand on this issue — particularly since it’s an election year.  Please contact the senators on this committee (click here for committee contact links) and urge them to support SB 1202, SB 1207/SB1378, SB1217, and SB 1435. These pro-life bills could radically change the culture of life in our Commonwealth:

SB 1202: Abortion Funding Opt-Out for ObamaCare ObamaCare puts states in charge of their own health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses. If enacted today, Virginia could potentially include in its exchange health insurance plans that cover elective abortion.  Pro-family citizens opposed to abortion would be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life. SB 1202, patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), is a bill that would prevent insurance plans in the Virginia health insurance exchange from providing abortion coverage. Five other states have taken this step so far, and several more are considering doing so, while Pennsylvania and Maryland are allowing abortion coverage.   SB 1435: Ultrasound/Informed Consent SB 1435, patroned by Senator Ralph Smith (R-22, Botetourt), updates Virginia's informed consent law with modern technology. It would require a woman to have an ultrasound and the option of viewing it prior to an abortion. Currently, a woman is given a pamphlet with generic pictures of fetal development. This bill would give the woman specific information about her child and allow her to make a truly informed decision. It also would help prevent mistaking the gestational age of the unborn child that can lead to illegal abortions. Two years ago, this bill died in this committee with a vote of 11-4.   SB 1378 and SB 1207: Wrongful Death of the Unborn SB 1207, patroned by Senator Obenshain, and SB 1378, patroned by Senator Bill Stanley (R-19, Danville), are bills that would provide protection (civil recourse) for the unborn in cases where they lose their life due to the negligence of another. While Virginia's code does include a fetal homicide law, the same unborn life, taken without intention or premeditation, elicits no civil penalty. Improving our civil law to recognize fetal manslaughter is essential. An unborn life is not only of value when it is wanted by the mother or when its life is intentionally taken by another.   SB 1217: Coerced Abortion SB 1217, patroned by Senator Smith, provides that any person who forces or coerces a pregnant female of any age to have an abortion against her will is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Shockingly, this type of coercion is not currently criminalized. Given that homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women according to a study in the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, Virginia needs to do more to protect women and their wanted unborn children. Women should not be forced to abort to avoid violence. Last year, this bill died in this committee by a vote of 10-5.    Be a voice for the voiceless and let these senators know that you will be watching how they vote with the expectation that they will vote yes for life this Thursday.

Whistle Blowers Reveal Planned Parenthood's Fraud In California

Remember how Al Capone finally was convicted and sent to prison? It wasn't for the numerous murders and other crimes he committed. Shrewdly able to intimidate witnesses and otherwise cover-up and destroy evidence, he was the Teflon Don 1.0. But he finally went down when the feds stuck him on financial fraud, tax evasion and that sort of thing. Who would've thunk it . . . accountants brought down Big Al. Now, Planned Parenthood in California is under the microscope, not for covering up statutory rape, unsafe abortion center conditions, unethical counseling, skirting parental consent laws and mis-dating the unborn child so as to perform an abortion in its center rather than in a hospital, among other illegal and unethical practices — but, rather, for financial fraud. Two former employees, including the California affiliates' former chief financial officer, have come forward, alleging millions of dollars of overbilling the California government.

The state government has launched audits of 10 of the California Planned Parenthood affiliates, although only one seems to be cooperating. That one, in San Diego, overbilled state government more than $5.2 million. The former CFO, Victor Gonzalez, claims the other audits were stopped cold when powerful Planned Parenthood lobbyists blocked them. Can't let but so much of the truth get out, of course.

One example of the malfeasance: Gonzalez says PP paid $225,695.65 for Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pills, yet billed the government $918,084 — a profit of $692,388.35.

Mr. Gonzalez says he was fired after he revealed the over billing internally and has taken legal action. Planned Parenthood tried to get the case dismissed, but the nation's most liberal court of appeal, the Ninth U.S. Circuit, refused to go along. The lawyer for Mr. Gonzalez says the case may take years to unwind and that there is "ACORN-like corruption" and advises federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to de-fund Planned Parenthood of any taxpayer money. The most recent figures estimate that Planned Parenthood received $349.6 million dollars in federal government grants and contracts for fiscal year 2008.

But that's not all. According to Shannon Bream of Fox News:

Government audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates in New Jersey and have uncovered similar billing discrepancies. In addition, a second California whistleblower claim alleging improper ties between Planned Parenthood and its political arm has reportedly launched an investigation by the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service, according to the New York Times.

We all know what happened to ACORN. It met a Capone-like fate itself. Could this be the first tug of the support beam that holds up Planned Parenthood? Sound impossible? Capone thought he was untouchable, too.

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.

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.

Official Statement Of The Family Foundation On The 4th Circuit Court Of Appeals Upholding Virginia's Ban On Partial Birth Abortion

STATEMENT BY VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA, CONCERNING THE RULING BY THE 4th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDING VIRGINIA'S LAW BANNING PARTIAL BIRTH INFANTICIDE

The simple fact that pro-abortion forces continue to defend the heinous and unnecessary act of partial birth infanticide with such vigor reveals their extremism. It must be noted that the procedures being discussed, a "dilation and evacuation" (D&E) abortion and an "intact D&E" both require the dismemberment of an unborn child past the known date of viability. The people of Virginia are seeing the true nature of the abortion movement.

The more people learn about the barbaric nature of these procedures, the more they support this ban. There is little doubt that we are seeing a shift toward a more pro-life nation because of the debate over partial birth abortion and as modern technology such as 4D ultrasounds reveal life in such vivid color at its earliest stages. As the truth of abortion is revealed, those willing to open their eyes to that truth are changed.

As Crossover Approaches, It's All To Play For

Tuesday is "crossover" day in the General Assembly, the day when work on bills from their respective chambers must be complete. The past two weeks have been long and intense, as you have been able to tell by reading this blog and by the number of e-mail alerts you've received. (If you don't receive our e-mail alerts, you should. They are informative, fun, fast and have received critical acclaim. People tell us that when they read them, they feel as if they were in the committee room. Click here to sign up.)   Several bills in The Family Foundation's bill profile were acted on recently. Here's an update:

SB 1270: Abortion Center Licensing Requirement (Support)

This legislation, introduced by Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), would have required abortion centers to become licensed, have life-saving equipment in their facilities and submit to one yearly inspection. It was drafted to make abortion centers safer for the women who visit them. In fact, the original bill had numerous regulations, many of which pro-abortion activists claim are onerous and designed put these centers out of business. Anticipating this argument, Senator Vogel stripped down the bill to the three simple requirements listed above.

The fact is that there are several types of medical facilities that are much less invassive, such as podiatry centers; and altogether different types of facilities, such as puppy mills, that have much tougher regulations. Furthermore, all medical disciplines and specialities have oversight by peer review boards, with the notable exception of abortionists.

Finally, the pro-abortion side traditionally argues that the Board of Medicine regulates Virginia's abortion clinics. Fine. Senator Vogel presented SJ 276, which the Senate passed unanimously last year, that slams the Board of Medicine, citing a 1999 JLARC report, that discovered "the Board of Medicine  took too long to resolve cases, did not adequately protect the public from substandard practice by doctors, and did not handle medical malpractice cases adequately," among other charges. When confronted with its hypocrisy and the truth, the pro-abortion side did the only thing it could do — ignore it.

So, this bill, which seemed like a logical and bipartisan issue, failed in the Senate Education and Health Committee by a party line vote of 10-5. So much for "safe, legal and rare." Instead, in Virginia, abortion centers remain an exempted class, untouchable and protected by their overlords in the Senate. Read more about this issue here and see video of the Ed and Health hearing here.

SB 801: "Choose Life" License Plates (Support)

This legislation, from Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), not only would have created "Choose Life" license plates, but would have sent part of the proceeds from the plates to pregnancy resource centers around Virginia. The bill was debated in the Senate Transportation Committee. Of course, the opposition denounced the plates, claiming they are political in nature and out of the purview for recognition.

Even more infuriating, a family practitioner unashamedly attacked crisis pregnancy centers in her testimony. The bill died in committee by a vote of 6-6 with Senators Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake) and John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian) abstaining. Senator Blevins was in the room up until just before the vote and then walked out — leaving a "proxy" vote of "abstain" behind.

HB 2579: Informed Consent, Ultrasound Requirement (Support)

Delegate Kathy Bryon's (R-22, Lynchburg) bill would require abortionists to take an ultrasound and allow the woman to view it if she desires before having an abortion. The Family Foundation supports this bill not only because it would give women medically accurate information to aid their decision making, but also with hopes that more women would choose life after clearly seeing that life inside them. The House Courts of Justice Committee reported this bill 15-6. It now goes to the House floor.   

HB 2634: Providing Information on Fetal Pain

Another informed consent bill, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), would require that a woman be told that her unborn child could feel pain during the abortion process and provide her with information on anesthesia for the child. Again, the House Courts of Justice Committee passed this bill 17-5, and the House will vote on it this week. See some of the sub-committee debate here.  

HB 1624, HB 1625, HB 1726, HB 2385, SB 945, SB 1247:  Legislation on "Sexual Orientation" (Oppose)

With homosexual rights advocates feeling emboldened by recent election victories, every effort has been made this legislative season to make sure that the term "sexual orientation" finds its way into Virginia code. It has been attempted in every form from group life insurance and housing discrimination, to making sure that it becomes a protected class under Virginia's human rights laws. Any incremental step they believe they can take, they will. Thankfully, we can report that all efforts to expand the homosexual agenda have failed thus far, with the exception of SB 945 (life insurance). 

These battles are far from over and other skirmishes over other issues undoubtedly will materialize. If ever it was all to play for, this year's second half is it.

Feeling No Pain?

Another priority bill each year is legislation that would require that women seeking an abortion be informed of the possibility that her unborn child feels pain. Earlier this week the House Courts Committee passed HB 2634, and the full House will vote on the bill Monday or Tuesday.  Here is a clip from a Courts subcommittee meeting: