For decades, every pro-life bill introduced to the state Senate was directed by the Senate Clerk to the Senate Education and Health Committee, where the legislation would promptly and painfully die – regardless of which party was in the majority.  We called it the burial grounds.  Flash forward to January 18, 2018 where that same committee, under the strong leadership of Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Lynchburg), today blocked every radical pro-abortion bill one can envision and topped off their day by defeating a dangerous agenda brought by the LGBT community. 

The committee began its 8:00 A.M. meeting with an announcement that Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-33, Leesburg, also running for VA’s 10th Congressional seat in November) had struck her own bill, SB 709.  This bill, coined the “abortion industry wish list,” was all-encompassing—an attempt to roll back the hands of time and prop up the abortion industry while simultaneously taking more unborn lives and harming women.   The reasons a legislator would introduce and then almost immediately kill a bill are never fully known, but maybe, just maybe, someone in her caucus or on her campaign decided that openly advocating for elective abortion-on-demand up until the point of birth was not a smart place to be.  Yes, this bill would have allowed abortion at any point in a pregnancy up until birth, for virtually any reason, in a non-regulated facility, without parental consent, informed consent, ultrasound, or any other concept that would allow women and girls the opportunity to reconsider their decision in a moment of crisis. 

Despite the typical line-up of abortion sympathizers and representatives of the billion-dollar abortion industry, the committee handily discarded bills to repeal the entire informed consent for abortion statute and all safety regulations put in place to protect the women who enter these facilities.  Wisely, the committee validated that all aspects of our abortion laws are currently working and don’t need to be rolled back.  Until this morning, some Senators may not have known that while the McAuliffe-selected Board of Health relaxed the specifics of the abortion safety standards, they did so illegally.  We informed the Committee of our litigation, pointing out that the effort to repeal these standards through legislation is merely an attempt to completely erase the abortion safety regulations before a judge can reinstate all of the portions the Board of Health illegally rolled back – a ruling we fully anticipate is only a matter of time.    

The prize for the worst bill defeated by the Committee goes to Senator Scott Surovell’s (D-36, Mount Vernon) SB 245 that would ban what has been deemed “conversion therapy.”  The gist of the bill is that no counselor can ever be allowed to direct someone under 18 years of age who might be questioning either their sexuality or their gender to resist and even to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions or to embrace their God-given biological sex.  It’s a war of ideas and those that disagree with ours have long moved past debating them into attempting to ban them.  We are thankful the Committee stood for freedom.