Private PartsFeb 21, 2017
It was quite an interesting morning outside the Governor’s Mansion on Capitol Square today. Late yesterday Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office released his “Public Schedule” for the week:
You’ll note that his “Public Schedule” includes “Governor McAuliffe to act on legislation impacting womens health” at 9:45 am today at the Executive Mansion. Now, we are well aware that the so-called “progressive” left has some difficulty discerning what is public and private (see bathrooms), and we learned this morning that this apparently includes what constitutes a “public” event.
You see, several of us who wanted to see the Governor’s “public” activity showed up at the Mansion and tried to gain access. Only when we did we were informed that no, the event wasn’t “public,” it was private. Yet we watched as several people entered the event without showing any form of ID, so how the Capitol Police could distinguish between those invited to the public/private event is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was the signs we were carrying that said things like “Defund Planned Parenthood” and “Planned Parenthood Lies” that made us undesirable.
So undesirable, in fact, that we were then informed that we couldn’t hold up our signs because we “didn’t have a permit.” This was a bit perplexing since we know that permits aren’t granted for any areas of Capitol Square with the exception of the area around the Bell Tower, far removed from the Capitol and the Executive Mansion; and this despite having witnessed numerous groups all session long being allowed to hold up signs wherever and whenever they pleased. We’ve watched Planned Parenthood apologists line the sidewalks of Capitol Square with their signs. Apparently, they are permitted to do that. In all fairness to the Capitol Police, they were just “doing what we’re told,” apparently by the administration, because we did hold up signs when we first arrived, but then we couldn't.
While standing outside the fence surrounding the Governor’s Mansion unable to hold up our signs, we were able to hear the Governor pontificate on how it is so important to have an “open and inclusive” Virginia where everyone feels welcome. While we were standing outside the fence. Barred from being welcome.
The Governor then very publicly (sort of) vetoed legislation that would have redirected taxpayer dollars away from Planned Parenthood toward real health clinics that offer comprehensive care for women. McAuliffe was joined at this public (oh, never mind) campaign rally by candidate for Governor Ralph Northam and candidate for AG Mark Herring.
For the second year in a row, the Governor celebrated vetoing a bill supported by 54 percent of Virginians; last year he did so at a Planned Parenthood abortion center. At least this year he did it in public/private/behind a fence.
Of Retirements and Vetoes
Of Retirements and Vetoes
Wednesday's one-day “Veto Session” at the General Assembly proved to go largely as expected, primarily along party lines, with the Governor’s legacy cemented as the most obstructionist executive in the history of the Commonwealth.
Since ascending to office four years ago, Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a record 111 bills – with none being overridden by the legislature. A two-thirds majority of those present for the votes is necessary to override a veto, and with no Democrat courageous enough to go against the hysterical “progressive” base that demands nothing less than absolute devotion to its dogmas, overrides were impossible.
With the Governor’s vetoes of many common-sense bills, several of which protected life, rights of conscience, and parental authority, there was plenty for state legislators to consider as they voted. But the day began with the shocking retirement of 24 year House veteran and chairman of the House Courts of Justice committee, Republican Dave Albo. This came on top of the recently announced retirements of Richmond area Republican Delegates Jimmie Massie and Peter Farrell. With the retirement of Speaker of the House Bill Howell already announced, it’s clear the House of Delegates will take on an entirely new flavor next year. We appreciate all the work of Delegates Howell, Albo, Massie and Farrell, with whom we have worked on many issues over the years. They will all be missed.
After nearly two hours of farewell speeches, the House finally got down to business and began the process of reviewing the Governor’s vetoes and dozens of amendments to bills, including the state budget. The Senate methodically worked through its bills dealing with the Governor’s actions as well.
The good news was the House once again rejected the Governor’s repeated effort to expand Medicaid under the failed Obama “Care” government health insurance scheme.
No vote to override a veto showed the left’s dogmatic adherence more than the failure to override the veto on HB 2191, a bill from Delegate Steve Landes giving parents a say when schools want to teach sexually explicit material to kids. When the bill passed the House in February it received 74 votes, meaning several Democrats voted yea. But today, they fell in line with their party and voted with the Governor.
Also in the House, the veto of Delegate Nick Freitas’s HB 2025, which would protect religious charities and schools from government discrimination because of their beliefs about marriage, wasn’t challenged with a vote. However, Delegate Freitas correctly pointed out that in the Governor’s own reasoning for vetoing the bill, he made the argument that religious charities are protected by the first amendment and statute for religious freedom – which means the Governor essentially argued why his own Executive Order discriminating against religious charities is unconstitutional! Remarkably, the Governor’s explanation says, “I veto House Bill 2025, which would shield from civil liability those who actively discriminate against same-sex couples. I vetoed this exact same bill last year, and my rationale for that veto remains the same.” Except we amended the bill this year to remove the civil liability part, which means, of course, it isn’t the “exact same bill”, but apparently neither the Governor nor his staff actually read the bill! You just can’t make this stuff up.
Regardless, even though the House and Senate could not garner the votes necessary to overcome the Governor’s vetoes, our message was heard clearly in the General Assembly yesterday. And credit where credit is due, despite secular leftist and media hysteria on these bills, for the most part Republicans in the General Assembly stood their ground and voted correctly.
The frustrations over the Governor’s vetoes of common sense legislation that protects religious charities, unborn life, taxpayers and parents’ rights must now be translated into action. The next Governor of the Commonwealth will either carry on the obstructionist tradition or be a conservative leader who will side with a majority of Virginians and sign these key bills.
Which Governor that is will be up to you.
Rare Bipartisan Victory
Rare Bipartisan Victory
During a General Assembly session, The Family Foundation takes a position on over 100 pieces of legislation. We try to keep you informed on as many as we can, but often we will work on proposals that never get the attention they deserve.
Case in point is a bill that thankfully on Monday Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law.
The proposal, HB 1709, requires schools notify parents if their child is involved in an incident of alleged bullying within five school days. Patroned by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41, Springfield), the bill was amended during the process to give schools fourteen school days – or almost three full weeks – before having to involved parents. Let’s face it, Amazon can deliver packages to third world countries faster than that! We believe parents are the key to their children thriving and that parents should be informed, notified and included as soon as possible when their children are suffering from or being accused of bullying. Three weeks is far too long.
And while the education establishment always claims it wants to involve parents, they allege it’s just too hard or too expensive to quickly pick up a phone and call a parent. We disagree.
Virginia’s definition of bullying is such that it requires very serious, repeated acts. Bullying is a serious problem, and parents should be involved as soon as possible if their child is a victim. And, if their child is suspected of bullying, they should know they are being investigated by the school.
The bill ended up in a “conference committee” on the very last days of session, where a handful of negotiators from the House and Senate worked out the final five-day time period. We’re thankful to Delegate Filler-Corn for working with us on this important issue, and for those conferees for seeing the wisdom of involving parents.
Governor Terry McAuliffe spent Thursday celebrating the fact that he’s proven to be the most obstructionist Governor in Virginia history.
Earlier this morning, Hillary Clinton’s top cheerleader went live on air with WTOP radio to veto bills (SB 2314/HB 2025) that would have provided modest protections for pastors, churches, and peaceful religious organizations and schools by prohibiting the state from discriminating against them because of their religious or moral beliefs about marriage.
The vast majority of Virginians, nearly two-thirds according to polling by Mason-Dixon, believe that, at a minimum, religious entities should be able to hold traditional beliefs about the institution of marriage without facing retribution from the government. But once again, Governor McAuliffe sided with the radical LGBT lobby and the ACLU in claiming that protecting the faiths of countless churches, religious schools and religious organizations amounts to discrimination and even going so far as to say it equates to “demonizing people”, according to his official statement. The Governor, of course, is all too comfortable with demonizing anyone who happens to disagree with him!
In reality, these bills would have ensured that a religious charity couldn’t be denied equal access to state benefits because of its belief in traditional marriage – something the Governor is trying to do through his Executive Order 61 – and that Virginia students who attend Christian universities or colleges like Liberty, Regent or Patrick Henry wouldn’t be denied access to Virginia’s Tuition Assistance Grants because those schools have policies based on marriage between one man and one woman.
His vetoes were a record 90th and 91st of his term, but sadly, he wasn’t done. This afternoon, he announced the veto of several bills that would have advanced parental rights and provided more educational opportunities for Virginia families.
The Governor proudly vetoed HB 2191, which simply would have provided parents of public school students an opportunity to review and opt their child out of materials they find sexually inappropriate. You may remember that a similar bill met with fierce opposition last year from the education cabal in Richmond as well as the secular “progressive) left. This year, Delegate Steve Landes (R-25, Verona) narrowed the bill to define “sexually explicit” simply as things that are currently against the law under the criminal sexual assault statute, but that still wasn’t good enough for the Governor.
In addition, he vetoed bills which would create a full-time public virtual school option for up to 5,000 new students in Virginia, allowing them to choose, with no tuition, from over a dozen approved education providers. He also vetoed two bills that would allow two or three school districts to band together to form a regional charter school district where each district would have to have at least 3,000 enrolled students and at least one school that failed to be accredited for at least two of the previous three years.
The Governor once again sided with the antiquated, failing, one-size-fits-all education establishment against families and children who want more options and the freedom to choose the school that best fits their needs.
The reality: elections have consequences. Virginians have the opportunity to correct the McAuliffe error later this year. Advancing the values we cherish, like religious freedom, life and education freedom require a governor who not only shares our values but has the courage to fight for them. Four years of Terry McAuliffe’s contempt for the beliefs of a majority of Virginians are enough.
Opioids and Abortion
Opioids and Abortion
The Washington Post headline screams, “Fentanyl fuels the nation’s opioid crisis.” It is another in a long line of articles seen in most news sources about the growing public health crisis that is opioid abuse and addiction, a plague destroying lives, families and communities across the nation and our Commonwealth.
Fentanyl is a Schedule II opioid pain reliever, and is “is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, according to a recent statement on fentanyl by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and 25-50 times more potent than heroin.” A Schedule II drug is defined as having “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
So, why did one doctor who owns four abortion centers in Virginia get nothing more than a slap on the wrist when it was discovered that his facilities kept no legally required records of the fentanyl he had obtained and allowed unlicensed staff members to transport the drug from facility to facility? (Never mind that he allowed an unlicensed staffer to administer the drug to women unfortunate enough to enter one of this abortion centers.)
In its July 9 and 10, 2014 inspection report from the Charlottesville Medical Center for Women, Department of Health officials found that unlicensed staff members were transporting narcotics (fentanyl) from one facility to another with no record or documentation. In fact, the facility had no records in accordance with federal and state laws regarding any drugs used at the facility. According to the inspection report:
“…the facility failed to keep records of all drugs in Schedules I-V received, sold, administered, dispensed or otherwise disposed of…”
The Charlottesville Medical Center for Women is owned by W.K.G. and J., Incorporated (the secretary is Marianne Fitzhugh), which also owns the Roanoke Medical Center for Women, the Richmond Medical Center for Women and the Peninsula Medical Center for Women. W.K.G is William Fitzhugh, one of Virginia’s more notorious abortion doctors. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Medicine apparently “investigated” and found an incredible record of Fitzhugh violating federal and state drug laws. Among other violations, the Board concluded that “for several years prior to July of 2014” he “failed to maintain a record of all drugs administered or otherwise disposed of at his Charlottesville clinic.”
For several years. Didn’t keep track of fentanyl. Fentanyl being one of the most abused opioids on the market. With unlicensed and unaccountable staff members transferring the drugs from abortion center to abortion center. With no way of knowing what happened to those drugs.
The Board of Medicine acted as forcefully as you would imagine when a doctor who performs abortions is involved – it issued a “reprimand” and required him to make a pinkie promise to be good from now on (okay, it was to promise to read the law and follow the law, but seriously?).
Other than that, there is no evidence that anyone ever did anything to find what happened to the fentanyl of which no one at Fitzhugh’s clinic kept record. You know, like is required by every other medical doctor and medical facility in the United States of America because fentanyl is dangerous and we have an opioid crisis!
Now, there is also no evidence that the fentanyl Fitzhugh obtained was distributed illegally or abused, but that might be because no one ever bothered to investigate because, you know, it’s abortion and, well, the abortion industry is “singled out.”
A Board of Medicine that makes decisions like letting Fitzhugh off the hook certainly doesn’t give hope that it’s serious about dealing with Virginia’s opioid crisis. At least not when it involves abortion doctors.
"Highly Unlikely" They Say
"Highly Unlikely" They Say
“Gene Editing for ‘Designer Babies’? Highly Unlikely, Scientists Say”
That’s the title from a recent New York Times piece highlighting last month’s successful modification of DNA in a human embryo by scientists for the first time in the United States.
The scientists were able to “edit” a known disease-causing mutation at life’s earliest stage in order to prevent the disease from manifesting later in the person’s life. With this sort of “germline” editing, a person’s DNA is not only permanently altered to prevent the contracting of a particular disease, but those mutations that cause the diseases would no longer be inherited by successive generations.
This means that we’re talking about the potential for significantly benefiting (or harming) the human race not just today, but in perpetuity. Talk about power and influence. The possibilities are seemingly endless to the imaginative and the motivated.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for inquisitive minds to wonder: If we can harness scientific methods to prevent “bad” traits, couldn’t we use the same methods to enhance “good” or “preferable” traits – like height, intelligence, skin or eye color, etc.? (Hence, the term “Designer Baby”) And couldn’t this create a number of foreseeable problems?
Not to worry, say the “scientists,” because doing those things would be really hard since modifying other traits is more complex. So for that reason – and that reason alone, apparently – permanently altering human embryos for purposes other than eliminating disease-causing genetic mutations is “highly unlikely” to occur.
Gee, that’s reassuring.
But as the saying goes: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Meanwhile, it’s hard to think of a scenario in which one person possesses more absolute power over another person than when the latter consists of only a few cells under a microscope, created by the former in a lab for the purposes of scientific experimentation. If human nature holds true, we can be certain, then, that no matter how much “good” may come out of this kind of “genetic engineering,” by man’s corruption that good is destined to be far outweighed by its as-of-yet incomprehensible destruction of human life.
Let’s think about this: When was the last time someone said “that’s just too complex” and everyone else simply responded “well, I guess there’s no use even trying then”? That’s just not the America I know. No – we’re the ones who resolve to put a man on the moon (and bring him safely home) within a decade for little more reason than because we don’t want the Russians to get there first! Do you suppose the Russians – who seem to have even less regard for human life than Americans – might be thinking at this very moment how they could harness this science to create a form of genetically-modified super-human for a superior military force, for example? I’d be surprised if they weren’t already working overtime to make it a reality.
If man’s ability to split an atom and harness its power led within a few decades to a nuclear arms race that brought the world to the brink of utter destruction (not that long ago), imagine what might become of man’s ability to split the DNA of a human cell and to harness the power of bending it to our will.
“Highly unlikely,” my foot. Not only is the experimentation, exploitation, abuse and destruction of innumerable human lives highly likely to occur if we continue any further down this path of embryonic gene editing. It’s a guaranteed certainty.
“Scientists” can predict whatever they want about what humans will do in the future, but as long as they ignore history and human nature, they’ll always get it wrong. And as long as we as a society fail to respect the value and dignity of every human life, we will continue to justify mass carnage upon the human race by dressing it up with words like “abortion,” “death with dignity,” and most recently, “embryonic gene editing.”
The Abortion Litmus Test
The Abortion Litmus Test
Somehow, I made it on to the campaign email lists of Ralph Northam and Mark Herring and have been the recipient of hundreds of their pleading missives over the past year or so. I’ve noticed a theme.
They love to use their gutless euphemisms like “women’s health,” “access” and “choice” to avoid the word abortion, but the message has been loud and clear:
For Democrats, the Virginia elections of 2017 are about abortion.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of emails I get from both Northam and Herring are about a single issue – the promotion and defense of the killing of unborn children.
For them, 56 million abortions just aren’t enough. We need more; a lot more.
And we need them paid for by the taxpayer, money funneled to their friends at Planned Parenthood.
And now we see where Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, attacked Republican Jill Vogel at their first debate over the ultrasound bill from five long years ago. A bill that simply required abortion centers to do what they claimed they already did – an ultrasound prior to an abortion to make sure 1) there really is a pregnancy, 2) that it’s not a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and 3) the size of the unborn child to make sure they use the right procedure to kill the child and not put the woman’s life at risk. For that, the left and media went into hysterics, and Democrats can still fundraise and motivate their base. Of course, what they really feared was the requirement that abortion centers offer women an opportunity to see the ultrasound picture before they make their decision.
That window into the womb scares the abortion industry perhaps like nothing else.
Vogel’s response, as quoted in the Washington Post, nailed it – “There was nothing in that bill that forced them to do anything against their will.” In fact, no doctor can force anyone to have a test against their will – you just have to live with the consequences of your decision to ignore the doctor.
Regardless, the irony in all this is that the party with the real litmus test on abortion is the Democrat party, which then uses the media to attack and ridicule Republicans for having a litmus test on abortion, when most Republicans talk about the issue only when asked. All while Democrats are having a now public internal debate nationally over whether they need to stop having a litmus test on abortion because it’s costing them elections. While Virginia Democrats make elections all about abortion.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Politics and elections are all about a narrative, and for Virginia Democrats, that narrative is abortion, all the time, anywhere, taxpayer funded, with no restrictions. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring are counting on it energizing their base. So is the abortion industry.
The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.