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.