Save the Babies!Feb 15, 2017
The definition of “women’s health care” is as fluid it seems as the definition of gender, at least to the political left. Yesterday’s floor debate in the state Senate is another example.
As the Senate was debating Delegate Ben Cline’s bill to redirect non-Medicaid funding away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive health care facilities, Senator Barbara Favola lamented that such a prohibition would end a contract the state has with a Planned Parenthood affiliate to provide STD testing. She worried that such a change would endanger “women’s health” and put unborn babies at risk (no, really) because they are more likely to have health issues if their moms have an STD:
Never mind that being killed in the womb is “no fault of their own” either, Favola and Planned Parenthood itself sure are awfully concerned about STD testing all of the sudden, which is kind of surprising. You see, over the past year plus while the industry was fighting to dilute abortion center health and safety standards, they fought to remove a requirement that abortion centers provide STD testing!
That’s right, the same people lamenting that they aren’t going to get paid by taxpayers to do STD testing also fought against having to do STD testing. Apparently, it’s only women’s health care when you profit off of the taxpayers.
And by the way, there is no reason that community health clinics can’t apply for the same grant and provide the same service. And they can do so in really “underserved” areas because they actually have clinics in underserved areas. There are no Planned Parenthood abortion centers west of Roanoke. There are dozens of community health care centers.
It really is remarkable that the abortion industry seems absolutely incapable of being honest in any way. Or they are completely blind to their own distortions. But they can get away with it because there is absolutely no one in the media that is going to challenge their claims.
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.
I try, really try, to understand the issues we deal with from the perspective of those on the “other side.” Sometimes, some have valid, logical arguments, with which I simply disagree. Other times, I find it impossible to even comprehend their position.
Now and then, I find their position not just incomprehensible, but unconscionable.
Recently, it was revealed that a woman in Chesterfield county “self-aborted” her unborn baby in the later stages of her pregnancy – the third trimester. She then buried the child in her back yard. The autopsy found that the woman had used a combination of drugs and “penetrating injuries to the head” of that nearly fully developed baby to kill them.
The ACLU’s response? Anger that the police would dare charge the woman with a crime.
“No woman should fear arrest or jail for ending her own pregnancy…it appears that this is another example of overreach…in an attempt to shame and punish [the woman] for her circumstances.”
It’s bad enough that groups like the ACLU and their friends in the abortion industry are perfectly comfortable with fully developed unborn babies being killed days or even hours before birth, a position with which a large majority of Americans disagrees. Americans object to abortion after the mid-point of pregnancy when they believe it’s being “performed” in something at least resembling a medical facility. Oh, and it’s downright barbaric. In Virginia, abortions after the first trimester must be done in a hospital because killing a baby that is nearly fully developed is complicated and somewhat dangerous – for the mother that is. It’s downright deadly for the baby.
The medical examiner in this case couldn't determine what the woman used to “penetrate” the head of her unborn child enough to kill it. I wonder, was the child kicking when she did it? Could she feel her child moving around as she killed them? Had she never heard of adoption? If her circumstances were so dire, why wait until the last days or weeks of the pregnancy? For a few hundred bucks Planned Parenthood would have gladly taken the baby’s life months earlier.
If you’ve seen a sonogram of a baby in the third trimester you know. You see the humanity. You recognize the dignity and the worth. As a pro-life community, we believe that dignity and worth don’t suddenly materialize at some random point on the continuum of life that is undeterminable. It’s there from the moment of conception because it comes from our Creator, not from our judgment. But while some may not believe that, many become uncomfortable with taking the life of unborn children at some random point during pregnancy when through sonogram you can see the child’s face, see their features; they move, they smile, they live. At what point does our humanity require us to say no?
For the ACLU, sadly, that point doesn’t exist. Don’t want the child? Kill them. Don’t worry about when, where or how, just do it.
Like I said, unconscionable.
"It's Abortion, Stupid."
"It's Abortion, Stupid."
Remember the days when liberal democrats and their media allies unmercifully attacked conservatives anytime social issues were mentioned in a campaign? Such things were a “distraction” from “kitchen table” issues that matter, they claimed. Candidates should speak only of economic issues and stop talking about “divisive” social issues. “It’s the economy, stupid,” was the mantra.
What a difference one Supreme Court appointment makes.
If you hadn’t noticed, as the campaigns for statewide office in Virginia – particularly governor – continue to ramp up, abortion is becoming one of, if not the primary, issue. For secular progressives that have complete control of the Democrat party these days, the freedom to take the lives of unborn children is the linchpin of their entire agenda. And protecting that freedom up to birth (and for some of them beyond birth) is the one and only issue of importance. That, and making sure the government continues to force you to fund Planned Parenthood. And with the specter of a potentially revamped U.S. Supreme Court that actually reads the Constitution, no issue is more important.
So, you can imagine the hysteria in the $1 billion abortion industry when all three Republican candidates for Governor last weekend expressed support for repealing theRoe v. Wade decision that invented the right to abortion! Apparent front-runner Ed Gillespie was the primary target of the industry and it’s media allies, with the Washington Post fretting in its headline, “Gillespie: ‘I would like to see abortion be banned.’”
Que the outrage.
Let’s face it, with the complete failure of Terry McAuliffe as Governor and the takeover of the Democrat party in Virginia by the Bernie Sanders wing, they can’t talk economics. Consequently, social issues are all they have, with abortion being front and center. As a result, the secular left is counting on Planned Parenthood and its vast war chest of campaign money to save the day for Democrats in the Commonwealth. If Republicans running for everything from school board to governor think they are going to be able to dodge the issue this time around, they have another thing coming.
So it was good to see all three Republican candidates for governor make their position on Roe v. Wade clear. Earlier this week, Republican candidates for Lt. Governor Bryce Reeves and Glenn Davis were asked at a candidate forum hosted by The Family Foundation in Richmond what their priorities would be to reduce the abortion rate in Virginia (Jill Vogel, also running for LG, planned to attend but was not able to be there due to last minute meetings in DC.). Each expressed thoughtful ideas on the issue.
But let’s face it, even if at some point in the next decade that decision is reversed, the issue simply returns to each state to decide what will be legal and what won’t.
In the meantime, how we can continue to reduce the abortion rate in Virginia – which has dropped more than 30 percent in the last five years! – is paramount. Restoring reasonable abortion center health and safety standards gutted by Governor McAuliffe is a start. Prohibiting abortion after the mid-point of pregnancy when science indicates unborn child feel pain is another step in the right direction. Reducing the regulations that make adoption cost prohibitive for so many families is yet another. But those things are only going to happen if pro-life Virginians awaken from their slumber and make sure a pro-life governor is elected in November.
Planned Parenthood is counting on its media allies to enrage pro-abortion voters by attacking pro-life candidates so those voters will turn out in droves. Those pro-life candidates that stand up to that hysteria and unashamedly make the case for life deserve our support. Without it, you can count on another four years of Planned Parenthood owning the executive mansion.
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.
Family Foundation Announces Impending Legal Action
- McAuliffe Administration Notified Today -
RICHMOND–The Family Foundation of Virginia today announced that the administration of Governor Terry McAuliffe has been notified of impending legal action regarding violations of state law by the Department and Board of Health during the abortion center health and safety standards regulatory process.
“Over and over again during the nearly three-year process of amending the standards, the administration and Board violated the Administrative Process Act, the state law that provides the framework for regulatory action, the administrative code, and the Governor’s own Executive Order 17 regarding the regulatory review process,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation. “Regardless of one’s belief about the need for basic health and safety standards for abortion centers – or of any regulation for that matter – we all have to agree that a regulatory body cannot act outside the law when it wields extraordinary power over business, commerce and health care. We have the Administrative Process Act for that reason, to provide legal boundaries and process for unelected regulatory bodies, to provide transparency and public input throughout the regulatory process, and to be able to hold these agencies accountable when they go beyond the scope of their authority.”
Details of the administrative appeal were not released, but will be made available when the action is filed in Henrico Circuit Court within the next thirty days. The Family Foundation is paying the legal fees for one appellant in the appeal, Itzel Melendez, from Richmond. At a Richmond press conference today, Mrs. Melendez said, “In the past, I had occasion to visit an abortion center for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. I am participating in this case because I am concerned that without basic health and safety standards, abortion centers will operate in a way that could put my health at risk if I ever decided in the future that I needed their services. The standards that were in place were there to protect women like me from harm. Without them, I am no longer confident that my health would be protected.”
Cobb did reference one of the examples of where the pro-family organization believes the administration broke the law. She stated, “The agency violated the Administrative Process Act by amending entirely separate and unrelated regulatory sections that had not been included in the regulations’ “Proposed” phase. Several regulatory sections amended by the Board were not included in the “Proposed Regulation Agency Background Document” posted in townhall.gov, and these regulatory sections dealt with matters the public did not have an opportunity to comment on in accordance with the requirements of the law.
“In addition, several regulatory sections the Board amended were not even in the agency’s “Final Regulation Agency Background Document” posted in townhall.gov, let alone its “Proposed Regulation Agency Background Document”. The Code of Virginia requires that the notice requirement contain “(i) a statement of the date, time and place of the hearing at which the regulation is to be considered; (ii) a brief statement as to the regulation under consideration; [and] (iii) reference to the legal authority of the agency to act; ….” Yet, that never occurred for all of the regulatory topics for the sections that were not included in the agency’s “Proposed” regulations. This is an important matter of transparency – providing to the public a clear list what areas of regulation are intended to be reviewed and amended. The public and the entities being regulated should know from the beginning what areas of regulation the agency intends to change. By avoiding disclosing all the areas the Department and Board intended to amend they violated both the letter and spirit of the law.
“In this case, the Department and Board initially indicated they would review and amend only six areas of the regulations, and instead ended up changing more than 20. The public had no ability to weigh in on these changes until after the Board had already voted.”
Cobb said, “There is a specific, detailed, and yes sometimes cumbersome regulatory process that, whether we like it or not, is the law of Virginia. Without a framework, and without criteria and accountability for regulatory agencies, one can only imagine the damage that could be done in any arena by regulatory bodies.”
“The Family Foundation fully supports the actions taken by these appellants,” added Cobb. “It is unfortunate that the McAuliffe administration has in its ideological zeal consistently ignored or violated state law throughout this process, but it must be held accountable for those actions. The regulatory process has rules that must be followed. Again, this appeal is about that legal process and this administration’s ignorance of or disdain for that process.”
Appellants in the case who appeared at today’s press conference were Virginia Board of Health members Megan Getter and Henry Kuhlman, and Itzel Melendez of Richmond. The attorney representing Mrs. Melendez is Dan Carrell of Carrell, Blanton Ferris and Associates, Richmond.