JOINT STATEMENT FROM JEFF CARUSO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE, AND VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA

RICHMOND - With the General Assembly set to approve a budget negotiated by House and Senate conferees, officials from two of the Commonwealth's leading statewide pro-life organizations expressed profound regret over the failure of negotiators to provide conscience protections to the vast number of Virginia taxpayers who strongly oppose paying for life-ending practices.

"Words cannot express the disappointment of pro-family Virginians at the decision of the Virginia General Assembly to continue forcing taxpayers of Virginia to fund the destruction of human life and the most extreme pro-abortion organization in Virginia. The General Assembly had multiple options, including banning funding of Planned Parenthood, embryonic stem cell research or state funded abortions. It is simply astonishing that they were unable to get any of the three amendments added to the budget.

"It is outrageously unacceptable to force Virginia taxpayers to fund abortions, life-destructive research, and the abortion industry's largest provider. Large numbers of constituents have expressed their concerns of conscience to budget negotiators for several years now, but these concerns never seem to come close to making the top of the priority list."

Last month, the House of Delegates approved budget provisions prohibiting state funding of abortions and research that requires either a human embryo to be destroyed or a baby to be aborted. Although the Senate's version of the budget did not include these items, the full Senate voted on February 27 to remove more than $200,000 in state funds that had been designated for Planned Parenthood of Virginia, the state affiliate of the nation's largest abortion provider.

Although all three of these provisions were considered by the budget conferees, none of them were included in their final report.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Medical Assistance Services, state taxpayers have subsidized 322 abortions — almost one every two days — over the last two fiscal years.