The Family Foundation anticipates significant advances in the regard for human life this GA session – the voters this past November cast their ballots for it and demanded it.  Pro-abortion advocate and chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, Senator Edd Houck, was sent packing.  The message was clear – the protection of life is paramount.  The Family Foundation couldn’t agree more. First and foremost, the attitude toward pro-life bills must change in the state Senate under new leadership.  The first indications of whether the new Republican majority is listening will be seen the first day of session, when membership of the Ed and Health committee is finalized, and the Senate votes on rules.  In particular, will the Senate abandon the decade old “pregnancy rule” that forced all life bills to Ed and Health whether they belonged there or not.  Will the playing field be leveled, and will the Ed and Health committee have at least eight true, dedicated pro-life votes?

Passage of pro-life bills through the House has not been difficult in recent years and we’re hoping that this year will prove that the working majority in the Senate is pro-life as well.

Our primary pro-life initiative this year is legislation requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion and ensuring the woman be offered an opportunity to view the ultrasound at least 24 hours before making her decision regarding her unborn child.  Enacted by approximately 20 states, the goal of this legislation is to protect a woman’s health.  An ultrasound allows for the gestational age of the unborn child to be known and not guessed.  Precise dating determines the method the abortion doctor uses and the location in which the abortion is legally allowed to be performed.  Inaccurate dating could seriously risk the health of the mother.  In past years, this bill has stalled in the Senate Education and Health committee, but with the likelihood of a more pro-life committee this year, The Family Foundation is nothing less than optimistic about the passage of this commonsense bill.

Another pro-life initiative The Family Foundation will engage upon is a bill that provides protection 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 premeditated, elicits no civil penalty, nor is there an additional civil penalty when the death is intentional.  Improving our law to provide for a civil penalty in the cases of 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, but instead at all times, an unborn life is of intrinsic value.  Approximately 40 states now allow for pre-birth wrongful death suits for injury caused to a fetus while in utero.  The Wrongful Death bill supported by The Family Foundation would bring Virginia in line with current law in the vast majority of states.

Passage of these bills would be a significant step towards the veneration of life in our Commonwealth and The Family Foundation is expectant that we will be able to celebrate legislative success for life at the end of this session.