The NEA Finally Admitted It!Jul. 12, 2019
Last month the National Education Association (NEA) adopted Business Item 56 that makes official its support for abortion – something we have suspected for years. Once again, the NEA, and by extension the Virginia Education Association (VEA), have shown us that they are less about education and more about advancing an ideologically liberal agenda. This has become abundantly clear in their VEA fund endorsements made earlier this year, a list where you won’t find a single pro-life candidate.
Business Item 56 states the following:
“Furthermore, the NEA will include an assertion of our defense of a person's right to control their own body, especially for women, youth, and sexually marginalized people. The NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”
On average, a public school teacher pays the NEA $192 in annual dues. In return teachers are able to take advantage of benefits like shopping discounts, life insurance plans, and student loan forgiveness programs. The NEA, despite their best efforts to convince us otherwise, uses the dues to pay for political activities that often conflict with a teacher’s personal convictions. Now with the adoption of Business Item 56, the NEA will use a percentage of teachers’ dues to fund its political activities to specifically promote abortion.
The NEA, the largest teachers’ union in the United States with 2.2 million members, says its mission is to “advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.” Clearly their adoption of an organizational policy supporting Roe v. Wade and the abortion industry is inconsistent with its stated mission and elevates a liberal ideology above the interests of its members. The position expressed by the NEA will be in direct conflict with the values and principles that many teachers hold regarding the sanctity of life.
But there are several alternatives to the NEA without the political agenda. That’s right, a public school teacher doesn’t have to join the NEA to receive helpful benefits and be part of a network of likeminded teachers dedicated to teaching our youth.
Instead public school teachers should consider joining one of the following groups:
1. American Association of Educators (AAE) - AAE is a non-profit professional association that serves thousands of teachers across the country. They describe themselves as a “national, non-union, professional educators' organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation” that seeks to promote professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.” (Emphasis added.)
As a member of AAE, a teacher will receive many of the same benefits that the NEA “promises,” including liability insurance, shopping discounts, scholarships, grants, and legal services, but with a lower annual membership fee.
2. Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) – A teacher interested in being part of a Christian-based organization should consider CEAI, which offers many of the same benefits but with a missional component. In addition to membership benefits such as legal services, insurance and store discounts, CEAI provides a ministry to equip teachers to be “missional educational leaders.”
3. Virginia Professional Educators - VPE is a nonprofit professional group for Virginia teachers that also provides many of the same benefits the VEA offers, but at a lower cost and without the “partisan politics and controversial social agendas of teacher unions.” VPE is a growing professional group for teachers with several thousand members.
It’s time to dismantle the illusion that the only professional group for teachers is the NEA. Teachers should be made aware that there are other groups that offer professional development without the stress of being connected to political positions that may conflict with their personal beliefs.
Changing Hearts and Minds About AbortionJul. 08, 2019
A majority of Americans are decidedly not “pro-choice.” This is according to a recent Gallup poll in which 49% of respondents reported that they consider themselves pro-life, compared to 46% who identify as “pro-choice.” This marks the first time since 2013 that a majority of survey respondents in a major poll identify as pro-life.
The notable shift in polling shows that hearts and minds can be and are being changed, which is arguably more important than any law we could pass. You see, we don’t have to wait until the legislature passes laws that limit abortions or until Roe v. Wade is overturned in order to end this scourge on our society, though we should still work diligently to make those happen. We can actually have an immediate impact in our communities by changing the hearts and minds of people on this issue.
That being said, public opinion on abortion has no doubt had a significant impact on abortion policies across the country, resulting in a flurry of laws aimed at either curbing abortion or expanding it.
The ideological Left and abortion advocates nationwide are going crazy over new laws in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri that establish important restrictions on abortion in those states. So much so, that they are passing their own radical abortion-on-demand bills in states like Illinois and New York that will allow abortion for any reason up until the moment of birth.
The issue of abortion has become so heated of late that in response to Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill”, Hollywood is actually boycotting the state. Hollywood elites and abortion proponents seem to be concerned about the strong possibility that a case will come before the U.S. Supreme Court that challenges its current Roe v. Wade precedence, especially as the makeup of the Court is trending more and more strict constructionist.
Last month we concluded our “No Pink Lights Over Richmond Tour” around the Commonwealth in which we discussed legislation concerning the sanctity of life. We were encouraged to receive positive feedback and great participation. During the Q&A Session following one of the presentations, a participant asked what our thoughts were on the recent heartbeat legislation being pushed in other states and whether we could expect something like that here in Virginia. Given what transpired in Virginia this year, it would not be surprising to see “Heartbeat” legislation introduced next year. But let’s more fully unpack the context of the heartbeat legislation.
In an attempt to start the process of challenging Roe v. Wade, Alabama passed a law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion except in cases when the mother’s life is in danger, effectively eliminating the practice of abortion in the state. Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill into law on May 15, 2019 and issued the following statement:
"No matter one's personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur."
The Alabama law sets in motion what will inevitably become a contentious and long legal battle that will take years to traverse the court system. Only time will tell if the case ever makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless, this law was clearly a bold move to return the issue of abortion back to the states by forcing the Supreme Court to finally reconsider (and overturn) the landmark 1973 decision.
Meanwhile, at the federal level, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the “Abortion is Not Health Care Act”, which could disincentivize some abortions by disallowing taxpayers from deducting abortion costs from their taxable income. Under Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code, abortion expenses paid during the taxable year that were not covered by insurance, by the taxpayer, his/her spouse, or a dependent may be deducted from income if they exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income.
These legislative actions represent two important approaches to policy-making with slightly different intended purposes. The first approach, which is the primary purpose of the Alabama law, is to impose certain restrictions on abortion that would trigger a legal challenge that is intended to reach the Supreme Court. The second approach is a pragmatic form of policy-making meant to restrict, defund, and limit abortions. While the later approach doesn’t strike at the heart of the abortion issue like the Alabama law, it is extremely valuable for keeping an abortion industry that desperately wants conduct its activities uninhibited in check.
For example, the legislature in Virginia has incrementally imposed vital protections for mothers, such as informed consent, 24 hour waiting periods, requirements that second trimester abortions to be performed in hospitals, and ultrasound requirements, to name a few. These pragmatic laws force abortion providers to follow strict rules so as to at least ensure the safety and informed consent of vulnerable women considering such a consequential decision. For the abortion industry, however, they are seen as an impediment to more profit. These achievements didn’t happen overnight, and they could easily be eliminated if legislation like Delegate Kathy Tran’s bill (HB 2491) is ever passed.
We know these vital protections and safety standards work because they were vigorously challenged by the abortion industry in Falls Church Women’s Center v. Oliver. For a summary of this case and what happened during the bench trial, you can read our blog posts “Falls Church v. Oliver", "The Plaintiffs Rest", "Defense Makes Its Case", and “Case Closed”.
The reality is that until the Supreme Court is filled with the right-minded judicial philosophy necessary to overturn Roe v. Wade precedence, we must continue to share our hearts for the unborn and exercise compassion for mothers struggling with this decision.That’s where the greatest change is going to happen.
Case Closed. Decision Still to Come.Jun. 07, 2019
Yesterday, abortion industry and the private counsel hired to defend Virginia’s laws made their closing arguments in federal district court in Falls Church Medical Center v. Oliver, wrapping up a grueling two-week trial in which nearly all our state’s pro-life laws hang in the balance. My team and I, including our five new summer interns, were in the courtroom to witness every word.
After failing year after year to pass legislation to achieve their ultimate goal of unfettered access to taxpayer-funded abortions performed by anyone in facilities with no oversight up until the moment of birth, the abortion industry turned to the courts – targeting Virginia to be its precedent-setting case in that goal. For a quick refresher on the overall case and some of what happened before and during the trial, be sure to look back at our blog posts. (“Surprise Miracle”, “Falls Church v. Oliver”, “The Plaintiffs Rest” and “Defense Makes Its Case”)
In yesterday’s closing statement, the lawyer for Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Whole Women’s Health gave frankly an overstated, over-confident, and oversimplified summary of the facts in this case and how the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedents supposedly require the judge to totally throw out all of the following Virginia laws (some on the books since 1975):
- “Window to the Womb" ultrasound law providing a woman the opportunity to view her ultrasound and hear the fetal heart tone if she wishes
- Abortion informed consent materials
- A 24-hour wait period after the ultrasound and prior to an abortion
- All abortion center health and safety regulations
- The requirement for 2nd trimester abortions to be done in hospitals, and
- The requirement for having actual physicians perform the abortion procedure
Despite how reasonable these safeguards are for ensuring the health, safety, and informed consent of vulnerable women facing this permanent – and often conflicted – decision, the abortion industry has proven its willingness to sacrifice anything, and anyone, for the sake of money and power. It's quite revealing that the same industry that purports to be about women's health is doing everything it can to strip away things like health and safety standards, informed consent, and requirements that medical doctors be the ones to perform an invasive surgery. We pray that Judge Hudson sees right through the hollow (yet slick) legal arguments of the Plaintiffs. If his questions from the bench were any signal, we sense that on most of the issues involved, he does.
The attorney defending our laws kept her closing much more direct, succinct, and generally had solid legal arguments. The Defense’s closing highlighted the evidence throughout the trial, even brought forward by some of the Plaintiffs’ witnesses, that safety standards have greatly improved the facilities doing the invasive surgery of abortion, that ultrasound is a critical element of the abortion procedure, and that physicians are uniquely qualified to perform all types of abortion and deal with all potential complications.
Significantly, the Defense pointed out that the Plaintiffs did not put forward even a single Virginia woman of child-bearing age who could demonstrate any burden whatsoever in her ability to obtain an abortion as a result of these laws. “If there were such a woman,” said the Defense attorney, “surely the Plaintiffs, who perform abortions all across the Commonwealth every single day, would be able to provide one.” But they couldn’t. That is more than a little problematic for the Plaintiffs when the legal standard they must demonstrate is an “undue burden” on an actual woman pursuing abortion.
While some important points were omitted from her closing and several points were conceded unnecessarily (this was the Attorney General’s hired counsel, mind you), the attorney definitely put forward a laudable and even compelling defense of the laws. And that was encouraging.
Now that the trial is over and all the documents and evidence are in, we are left only to pray for Judge Hudson’s wise discernment, his respect for our laws and the Constitution, and that he has a true appreciation for the gravity of his decision in terms of its impact on the lives and health of women, unborn children, federalism and the rule of law. Please join us in that prayer over the next several weeks.
Whatever the outcome of this case, The Family Foundation will remain ever-vigilant on behalf of Virginia families for the protection and promotion of every human life, and especially those most vulnerable among us. As soon as we learn of a decision in this case, we’ll let you know.
Abortion Trial: Defense Makes Its CaseMay. 29, 2019
This week, the Commonwealth is making its defense of Virginia’s common-sense pro-life laws under siege from the abortion industry in federal court in the high-stakes case of Falls Church Medical Center, LLC v. Oliver. Today marked the end of Day 2 of the Defense’s case, as so far six expert witnesses have taken the stand.
Yesterday, four separate respected and long-time employees of the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Licensure and Certification (OLC) (all of whom, it should be noted, serve within the administration of pro-infanticide Ralph Northam, and all of whom served under former Governor Terry McAuliffe) hammered home their belief that the health and safety standards for abortion facilities through regulations first initiated in 2012 are reasonable, helpful, and clearly necessary for patient safety and care.
The witnesses included two experienced inspectors of the abortion facilities since 2012 who have personally witnessed and cited many of the 500+ horrific abortion facility violations, including those of the former Virginia Health Group in Fairfax, whose license was immediately and indefinitely suspended in April 2016 by Gov. McAuliffe’s own Commissioner of Health after a 70-page inspection report revealed violations so gut-wrenching that it was deemed to be an immediate danger to patient safety.
When the witness inspector recounted first entering that facility for an inspection that was triggered by a patient complaint, she described how “When we walked in, the things that we observed were very concerning to us.” She described a dirty patient waiting area, with furniture that was all stained and in disrepair, “filthy” carpets, and holes and graffiti on the walls. “And that was just the waiting area,” she remarked.
Other violations included dirty, unsanitized equipment, dried blood on surfaces, dust and debris on machines, stopped up toilets (where a nurse walked out into the hall with a plunger in her hands and then immediately went to begin a procedure without washing her hands), boxes of patient files stacked in the patient bathroom, poor infection control procedures, unmarked syringes laid on dirty desks and contaminated from one surface to another, and general failure of employees to wash hands before or after procedures. At one point, the physician, without washing his hands, put on gloves to perform a procedure, then came back to his office, took off the gloves, and immediately reached into a box of donuts with his unwashed hands. (And this is just what they do when the state inspectors are watching!)
One of the patient records that had been randomly pulled for auditing purposes showed that the patient had to be rushed to the emergency room because the physician had caused a laceration of her cervix while performing an abortion. The facility did not even have sutures on the premises to help stop the bleeding! This was just one abortion facility, on one occasion. But it really drove home the point about why regulatory oversight of these facilities is so critical. It really blew wide open the Plaintiffs’ attempt to claim that all of these health and safety oversight policies are burdensome and unnecessary.
Day Two of the Defense’s case showcased a Board Certified OBGYN, who laid out the strong case for why a 24-hour wait period prior to an abortion, a required ultrasound and informed consent procedures, and the limitation on performing abortions to physicians only are all well-justified laws for securing patient safety, care, and medical best practices. She also explained the serious potential complications of abortions at various stages of development, and why it was so important that later-term abortions be performed only in a hospital setting rather than a typical abortion facility patient room. The Plaintiiffs’ lawyer did everything she could to discredit her by targeting her Christian faith and life-affirming personal beliefs, including her associations with a CareNet pregnancy resource center, where she serves as the volunteer Medical Director, having performed over 1000 free ultrasounds in the past three years alone. They also took issue with her membership in AAPLOG (American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists). Sad, but not surprising.
Finally, an economist discredited the abortion industry’s expert testimonies which attempted to imply that these laws had somehow caused an undue burden on some Virginia women seeking abortions. The economist analyzed their testimonies and clearly showed how they had not shown any causal link between the laws and women’s ability to access abortion facilities, which is their burden to prove in this case, and the central issue in the case.
On Thursday, the Defense will wrap up it’s case, and the Plaintiff’s will bring in a few rebuttal witnesses on Friday. Then it’s on to closing arguments. Judge Hudson seems to be asking all the right questions throughout the trial, which indicates that he really gets what’s going on. Overall, I’d say the Defense has really, as they say, shown up ready to fight. And, well, that is much more than we expected. There is much reason for optimism, but cautious optimism to be sure.
The Plaintiffs' RestMay. 24, 2019
Earlier this week, we told you how the abortion industry’s lawsuit challenging all of Virginia’s pro-life laws kicked off in what has been scheduled for a 2-week trial in federal court. The Plaintiffs continued their lineup of “expert” witnesses, including staff from Planned Parenthood and Whole Women’s Health. Again, the plaintiffs and their witnesses spent much of the time avoiding anything that might reveal to the Judge or the media present in the courtroom that a human being was in the womb whose life is taken when these abortions occur. Terms like “voluntary pregnancy interruption” replaced abortion in some exchanges. Interruption usually implies something will resume later, except, apparently in this usage of the word.
Courtroom exchanges also revealed that the Hampton abortion clinic has no doctor on site and performs chemical abortions by telemedicine. As described, a doctor advises a nurse by video conferencing, who then administers the abortion pill. While we’ve known that there is no doctor practicing at this abortion facility, it was unknown how they were administering chemical abortions. It has seemed that in the past, legislators have been under the impression that abortion was not happening by telemedicine, despite our concerns.
Witnesses on the stand included the both Medical Director and CEO of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood and the founder of Whole Women’s Health, LLC. Each of these individuals testified that routine biennial inspections are burdensome and unhelpful. Thankfully, after much advocacy for no oversight, Judge Hudson asked the abortion staff in a very perplexed manner, “You’re not saying you want no oversight, right?” to which the abortion industry response was that they would still be governed by OSHA and CLIA. OSHA regulations are designed simply to protect any business’ employees from safety risks, like construction site falls, etc. CLIA regulations are specific requirements for handling laboratory test results, etc. Neither of these would guard against infection and ensure abortion complications are handled appropriately.
Sadly, the CEO of VA League for Planned Parenthood (including several locations) assured the court that this entity alone had taken well over 50,000 lives just in the last 12 years. Of course, it was not phrased in that manner. As a mom, I realized that those were classmates and teammates of my four children, the oldest of whom is 12 years old. It was likely friends and neighbors of mine, unaware of the support for their pregnancy, adoption or motherhood that was available to them, who made the decision to end those lives. Heartbreaking.
The court also heard from Dr. Karen Remley, a former Commissioner of Health, who attempted to paint a picture of how the safety standards she helped put together with a group of doctors would have been valuable but that the process was corrupted by politics. The problem with her argument (that hopefully the Judge recognizes) is that all regulations go through a political process. Not all recommendations given by experts during the regulatory process are included in the final product when voted upon by the government entity making the final decision. This is not abnormal, but in fact, is practically guaranteed due to the lengthy regulatory process. In many places, her testimony inadvertently helped the defense. Here are a few of Dr. Remley’s other notable statements:
She noted that, in forming the group of experts to give recommendations on standards, they had gotten the advice from the heads of the various medical school OBGYN departments. She highlighted how the McDonnell administration suggested she include Dr. John Seeds, then Chairman of the OBGYN department at VCU. This was supposedly her evidence to show that the administration forced a doctor onto the panel who was likely initially excluded because he is known to be in favor of the preservation of unborn life.
She repeatedly confirmed that many of the components of the safety standards are “medically optimal.” These included the CDC guidelines for infectious disease control and life-saving equipment. Her concern wasn’t directed at unnecessary safety guidelines, but simply that all outpatient surgery does not receive equal oversight.
As she called the regulation of physicians’ offices the “wild west” and admitted that the state knows nothing about the safety of those practices, you could almost hear the Plaintiff lawyers gasp, since this is their desired level of standards they need to convince the Judge is sufficient. She did note that the building construction guidelines were not part of the original recommendations, but omitted the fact that they were added because the Code of Virginia has a law requiring them.
She sited that, in addition to the building code requirements, the doctor panel never recommended that an abortion facility have a Transfer Agreement with a hospital, which was included in the Board’s final recommendations. Unfortunately, she grossly mischaracterized that safety requirement as the physician having to be “on staff” at a hospital, which is not the same as having Admitting Privileges. The Commissioner is fully aware that the safety standards are meant to govern the facility, and that they cannot and do not govern the doctor. Regardless of her misrepresentation, she must not have been aware that part of the previous Abortionist’s testimony about handling complications included the fact that if it were severe enough, they would transport the patient to a hospital. I suspect a Judge would naturally conclude that such a connection between facility and hospital would be valuable in that case.
There was also considerable focus on the 24-hour delay and the ultrasound requirement, and the supposed burden these place on women seeking abortions. The Plaintiffs even brought in a bioethicist to suggest that even merely offering a woman the option to view her ultrasound or to hear her baby’s heartbeat – as required by law - violated the woman’s autonomy and decision-making capability. Yes, you read that right. You just cannot make this stuff up. According to this “expert” bioethicist, less knowledge for a woman equals greater autonomy. So much for “a woman’s choice.”
The trial so far has clearly placed the abortion industry in the role of Chicken Little, effectively claiming“the sky is falling” with each and every requirement, no matter how minor. According to the Plaintiffs, the regulations are overly burdensome, the safety standards are unachievable, the waiting period is unhelpful and unfair, and women will be unable travel to obtain their abortion, etc., etc.. One wonders what nominal requirement the abortion industry would consider not be an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion. I can think of one very effective way the government could ensure women’s easier access to abortion: slash the industry’s prices for abortions in half. Somehow I’m certain Planned Parenthood would draw a line on that one.
Now the Plaintiff’s case has been fully presented. Next week it will be the Defense’s turn to argue their side, and hopefully make a compelling case for upholding these important protections for health, safety, and life. We will be in the courtroom following this case closely, so stay tuned.
Falls Church v. OliverMay. 20, 2019
Today at 9:00 a.m. I joined others from my team at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Some of us were inside to watch the proceedings while others were outside praying for a righteous decision.
Judge Henry E. Hudson is hearing a vitally important lawsuit against all of our pro-life laws. This lawsuit, Falls Church Medical Center, LLC. v. Oliver, was brought by Planned Parenthood and abortion allies to take away all of our pro-life laws. Here are some of the laws that the abortion industry wants to strike down with a court decree:
Our "Window to the Womb" ultrasound law,
Our law requiring full informed consent before abortions,
The law requiring a 24 hour waiting period before an abortion,
All of our health and safety regulations,
Our law limiting 2nd Trimester abortions to hospitals only; and
The law, which has been on the books since 1975, stating that only licensed physicians are allowed to do abortions!
Ultimately the pro-abortion industry wants to remove every pro-life law we have ever passed! And, having failed to do so in the legislature, they are turning to the courts.
Judge Hudson will be hearing witnesses and testimony in this case for the next two weeks - concluding on May 31st. The Family Foundation will be there to monitor every day of the proceedings.
It’s hard to fully describe what it’s like to sit in a courtroom and listen to an abortionist, who testifies to having done thousands of abortions, dispassionately describe what he does for a living, complete with seemingly unending euphemisms to describe abortion rather than facts. If one heard Governor Northam describe infanticide on the radio, it’s comparable, except for hours on end.
Much of the day was listening to the testimony and cross examination of an Oregon abortionist Dr. Mark Nichols. Dr. Nichols went to great lengths to claim nearly all abortion is virtually without complication. The difficulty with his presentation is that in Virginia, despite years of presenting legislation to the Virginia General Assembly to collect complication data on abortion, short of what is presented as a result of the newly adopted safety inspections, our Commonwealth simply has not been collecting complications. For decades it has been the case that if a woman has a perforated uterus and presents herself at the hospital, it will be filed as a hemorrhaging, not an abortion complication. Even after regulations adopted in 2011 required some complication reporting, inspections reveal that complications are still not being reported. Dr. Nichols reported that even uterus perforations are often handled onsite rather than transferring a patient to a hospital. We know that is because the industry does everything possible to conceal complications, including not sending women to the hospital when then need that level of repair after a botched abortion.
Abortionist Nichols gave testimony that he does a thorough job ensuring the informed consent of women, emphasizing that he finds women fully competent to understand the decision they are making. However, when drilled about his use of ultrasound in that informed consent process, he acknowledged that he does deny women the right to see their ultrasound, despite their request because he knows what’s best for them.
In a moment that shocked no one except Rachel Maddow, Dr. Nichols did affirm his use of ultrasound in each and every abortion he performs because it results in a safer abortion. If one watched the news or late-night television during the passage of our Window to the Womb law in 2012, one would have walked away with the impression that ultrasounds are simply a tool of “state sponsored rape.” Seriously. I wish I were kidding.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of today’s discussion was the notion that this doctor could provide women with any facts that would allow her to make an informed consent when he couldn’t use any correct terms to speak about a woman carrying a child. With the rare exception, he never used the word “baby” and only rarely the term “fetus.” Most of his entire time on the stand only referred to “pregnancies”, “pregnancy tissue” and “products of conception.”
At one point it was clear the defense attorney wanted him to acknowledge the process by which an abortionist ensures they have done a complete abortion, which is to put the child’s body parts back together and determine they are all accounted for. Rather than owning this known process, the abortionist simply said that he checks the womb to ensure the “products of conception” are gone. When asked what the “products of conception” were, he simply responded with the “fetus and placenta.” He even managed to describe needing bigger tools in later week abortions because the “pregnancy is bigger.” In English, rather than abortion-speak, the child ‘s skull is bigger but apparently, despite acting as if abortion is the same as removing a wort, the abortionist does not appear to have the boldness to actually use real words to reference the human body being torn apart.
Much of the testimony centered around the various types of abortion:
1) Chemical - take two pills and induce a process like a miscarriage, including a tremendous amount of bleeding
2) Suction - envision a vacuum used to remove the child
3) Dilation and evacuation (D & E) - a woman is dilated and the child is dismembered and then removed.
4) Induction – the child is shot into the heart with a lethal drug, labor is induced and a whole dead child delivered. If the child is not delivered whole, post-induction dismemberment will occur.
The abortionist steered away from using words like “vacuum”, “dismemberment” or “delivery.” However, it is critical to note that he testified that he does suction abortions until 15 weeks, D & E until 22-24 weeks and induction abortion or what has been coined “heart attack” abortion after 24 weeks. Given this is the case, petitioners are filing to move 2nd trimester (through 27 weeks) abortions from a hospital to an abortion center and remove the physician requirement. If the Judge were to strike down these laws, one has to ask if the law would then allow induction abortions in a center with a health worker who is not a doctor, like a certified midwife delivering the dead baby? Remember, Virginia’s laws are not structured around the types of procedures, they are structured around gestational ages of development. For Judge Hudson to rule by procedure, he would need to essentially rewrite the law for the General Assembly.
Our hope is that the ten-day trial highlights for Judge Hudson the over 500 health and safety violations in the Virginia centers over the last couple of years including blood on the equipment, expired medications and untrained staff. It would be hard to read what we’ve read, inspections that are readily available to the public, and the Judge conclude that this industry needs less oversight.
I will be in the court as often as I can be over the course of this trial. Please keep this case in your prayers.
Suprise Miracle: VA Judge Reverses Himself on Terrible Abortion Ruling!May. 15, 2019
Your prayers continue to pay off in big ways!
This afternoon, in an extremely rare and unexpected twist in the abortion industry’s zealous efforts to strike down nearly all of Virginia’s abortion restrictions, Judge Henry E. Hudson issued a sudden 180-reversal from his devastating decision last week declaring that non-doctors can commit abortions in Virginia.
According to Hudson’s Order today:
On further review, the Court is of the opinion that summary judgment was improvidently awarded to the parties on Count IV based on the present record. Rather, on further consideration, whether the "Physicians-Only Law" presents an undue burden to Virginia women who seek an abortion is a material fact that is genuinely in dispute.
Evidently, after sleeping on his initial decision for a few days, the judge realized he had made a serious miscalculation in judgment that was big enough to justify doing a complete (and very public) about-face. Or perhaps his surprise reversal was merely evidence of Proverbs 21:1 – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it withersoever he will.”
Whatever the full explanation, we're thrilled that Judge Hudson took this extraordinary step to reverse his earlier decision that jeopardized women's health, nullified our laws, and provided another free pass to the abortion facilities. Unfortunately, when we have an Attorney General who acts out of loyalty to a favored special interest instead of fidelity to the law, initial impressions of the court can become distorted. That seems to have played a role here.
The final trial to decide all these issues is still yet to be heard, but we’re tremendously grateful for this positive course correction. Please continue to pray as this case moves forward. Remember: "This is the confidence that we have towards Him, that if we ask anything according to his will He hears us." (1 John 5:14); and "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16)
Religious Liberty On the Line!May. 14, 2019
The federal “Equality Act” (H.R. 5) is moving through the House of Representatives at warp speed, and is scheduled to be voted on this week!
Last week I told you that this bill is one of the most dangerous pieces of federal legislation that I have seen in my lifetime, a comment that I do not make flippantly. And the more we learn about the potential impact of this legislation, the more my concerns grow.
The bill’s threats to religious liberty, free speech, churches and faith-based hospitals are well-established, but we are learning more about how this bill will actually cause greater harm to people. According to Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, H.R. 5 would force physicians to prescribe toxic hormones and drugs for adults and even children that can produce severe side effects, or even to perform serious medical procedures, all to “change” a person’s physical features to conform to their self-prescribed gender identity.
The so-called Equality Act would eliminate all parental authority related to the training and well-being of their children by prohibiting parents from ever interfering with a child’s access to transgender medical procedures. Sadly, this is no longer a hypothetical. Recently, parents in Ohio, which has a similar state law, had their parental rights terminated for failing to approve puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for their adolescent child.
We’ve learned that the so-called Equality Act would also provide that “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” cannot be treated any differently than other physical conditions. This means all restrictions to abortion would be torn down, and anybody or any group who doesn’t want to fund or commit an abortion at any stage will be subject to punishment.
The reality is that this type of radical legislation has already permeated many state legislatures, and now the House is applying a full-court press to pass the so-called Equality Act at the federal level.
We cannot allow the government to push people with strong religious convictions into compromising their beliefs, or to usurp the prerogatives – and constitutional rights – of parents to guide the education and health of their children.
CLICK HERE to contact your Members of Congress today, and urge them to OPPOSE H.R. 5, the Equality Act. You can also reach your Congressman and Senators at (202) 224-3121. Don’t wait, the House plans to vote on this bill this week!
Federal Court Strikes Down Pro-Life LawsMay. 09, 2019
Late Monday night, we learned of a rogue federal court’s disturbing decision in Falls Church Medical Center v. Oliver, on a preliminary challenge by Planned Parenthood against nearly every law on our books designed to affirm and protect life for moms and their unborn babies. After digesting the court’s shocking opinion, here’s the gist of the tragic results:
Non-physician staff (e.g. nurses and even midwives) will now be allowed to conduct both surgical and “medical” first-trimester abortions, putting women at even greater risk. (VA’s law for physician-only abortions has been on the books since 1975.) Now, women undergoing a medical or surgical first-trimester abortion will go through this difficult medical procedure without a doctor!
All 16 of Virginia’s abortion centers will now be allowed to perform second-trimester abortions with no criminal penalties. (VA’s criminal law requiring 2nd-Trimester abortions to be conducted in hospitals has been on the books since 1975.) Only two facilities in the state were previously able to perform these.
All of Virginia’s health and safety regulations for abortion facilities have been called into question and are now in serious jeopardy of being invalidated.
This doesn’t even account for the numerous other laws now up in the air to be decided in a trial set for May 20 – such as the “window into the womb” ultrasound requirement, informed consent procedures, the 24-hour wait period before an abortion, and other reasonable measures designed to protect women who are facing such a life-altering decision.
The single greatest political battle we’ve been fighting in Virginia in recent years is defending our hard-fought and common-sense pro-life laws from the relentless schemes of the radical abortion industry to undermine and destroy them. Despite some notable victories, this defense is proving all but impossible when our own Attorney General is the primary culprit in undermining them at every turn.
The abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, is seeking to ‘run the tables’ on Virginians in one fell swoop with a single court opinion after 40+ years of solid pro-life gains. They realized that, with this Attorney General fully in their pocket, whose “defense” of our laws in this case looked more like a complete acquiescence to Planned Parenthood’s claims, the judge almost had no choice but to hand so much to the abortion industry.
And when the named Defendant in the case, the state Commissioner of Health – appointed by the infanticide-promoting Governor Northam – takes every opportunity to side with the abortionist Plaintiffs in establishing the claims and facts, how do our pro-life laws stand a chance??? This kind of governence is tyranny at its worst, and the potential consequences are hard to even imagine.
Every Virginian should be outraged!
With virtually no control over what happens next, this is yet another moment for all pro-life Virginians to reflect on one unasailable reality: Elections have consequences. That being true, while we may have little control, we have the ear of the One who has all control. Please join me in praying for the outcome of this case to be fully argued on May 20th. So much is at stake for so many who need the laws' protection.
In the face of this disheartening news, and regardless of the outcome of the final trial, we remain undaunted and will continue to fight in the legislature, the courts, and the hearts and minds of all Virginians.
Love Them Now and Love Them LaterMay. 02, 2019
“So you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later.”
- State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham.
That was the shocking and horrifying comment made on the floor of the House of Representatives of Alabama on Tuesday. The comment was made during a debate to severely limit abortion in that state.
It is difficult to even understand what Representative Rogers is claiming here. The next day he made additional comments to a pair of Alabama reporters and seems to believe that every child who is unwanted will grow up to be addicted to drugs, suffer starvation, and be executed by the State or die in prison.
This is a hopeless viewpoint. It is the view that no one can overcome their circumstances and rise above their humble beginnings.
He ignores every example of great people who did overcome harsh and cold upbringings to be great men and women who advanced noble causes in this land. People from all centuries have overcome a loveless childhood to bless America. Just to list two examples, both Oprah Winfrey and Benjamin Franklin overcame terrible childhood experiences to be incredible blessings to the world.
Representative Rogers ignores the power of the human spirit to overcome hardship. We do not have to either kill a child now or kill the child later. Those children have strength and beauty, and they can overcome the hardship of being unwanted and unloved.
More than that, Representative Rogers ignores the beauty of adoption. How many children were unwanted by their birth parents, but were received into the loving arms of adoptive parents? Hundreds of famous examples exist, but thousands if not millions of cases exist which we will never hear about or read about.
So many people have lived beautiful lives and loved deeply on this earth despite not being wanted or loved by their parents. Killing them is not the best option.
Just because someone is “unwanted” and “unloved” by their birth parents does not mean they should be killed. We should love them, not kill them.
We should love them now and love them later.
Budget Update: Victory for Life!Apr. 04, 2019
We are thrilled to tell you that, at yesterday's "Veto Session" in Richmond to consider the Governor's vetos and budget recommendations, the House of Delegates rejected Governor Northam's attempts to make taxpayers pay for abortions and to funnel millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood! This is a huge win for the protection of unborn life, and a great end to a day that began with Virginia's first-ever (and highly successful) statewide March For Life at the Capitol.
For more details of the pro-life budget provisions that were successfully defended yesterday, read about them here on our blog.
The Governor's amendment to keep millions in tax dollars flowing to abortion facilities was defeated 50-49, and his amendment to fund abortions failed on a vote of 50-45. We want to thank several Delegates who made compelling floor speeches in support of the pro-life language, including Delegates Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun), who has been a champion for the budget's "Hyde Amendment" language, Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper), and Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg). Look out for videos of these and others like them on our Facebook page soon - The Family Foundation Action.
Believe it or not, there is still one more round left to go in the budget process. It will now be sent back to the Governor, who will have a final veto opportunity. With yesterday’s success, we crossed another major hurdle in protecting life in Virginia. It's a great day to be a pro-life Virginian! Thank you for all your support and prayers.
Tell the Governor NO Tax Dollars for Abortions!Mar. 14, 2019
The General Assembly added three critical pro-life amendments to the state’s budget that will: 1) limit public funding of abortions, 2) strip millions of tax dollars otherwise flowing to abortion facilities through the “LARC” program, and 3) require the Department of Health to report its reasons for approving state-funded abortions. They are now awaiting action by the Governor.
ACTON: Please contact Governor Northam and urge him to agree to these important pro-life budget amendments!
These critically important pro-life provisions hammered out by the House and Senate make this one of the most pro-life budgets we’ve seen in decades. Here is some additional context on each amendment and why they are so important:
1) Limiting the Public Funding of Abortions – “Hyde Amendment”
Introduced by Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33, Hamilton), this measure will bring Virginia in line with the majority of states that align their policies with the federal Hyde Amendment, which limits taxpayer funding for abortions to situations involving rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Current Virginia law allows the state to also pay for elective low-income abortions of unborn children with disabilities. This horrific practice forces taxpayers to fund the death of an unborn child if two physicians who work for the Department of Health think it’s justified. Every life has intrinsic value, regardless of physical or mental challenges, and every child is worthy of life.
2) Stopping the “LARC” Funds from Flowing to Abortion Providers
Introduced by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-12, Glen Allen), this measure would modify the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) program she initially helped introduce that ultimately made it into last year’s budget (over our strong objections), now limiting the use of those funds to only the purchase of the IUD devices by the Department of Health – ensuring that no more actual dollars will go to Planned Parenthood through this program. This amendment comes after the program resulted in nearly $3M in grants being allocated to the abortion industry with very vague language defining its use. While some of that money has already been allocated, we believe in the principle of “better late than never.”
3) Requiring the Health Department to Report its Reasons for Approving State-Funded Abortions
This amendment requires the Department of Health to report monthly on the number of state-funded abortion procedures it approved, along with its rationale for approving these “fetal abnormality” abortions for low-income women. In the past, the Department has refused to divulge its reasons for approving these state-funded abortions, and we speculate they are construing the term broadly, especially as the yearly totals continue to increase. Assuming, however, that the Governor is not able to strip out the Hyde Amendment language, there would no longer be any abortions to report for this provision.
Life Stole the Show! [General Assembly Recap Part 1]Mar. 04, 2019
The 2019 General Assembly session wrapped up last Sunday, and in my 19 years with The Family Foundation, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. It was a whirlwind of major policy issues with game-changing implications, fought over in a raw and unpredictable political slug-fest marked by all the hype, drama and epic showdowns one could hardly expect from a primetime Hollywood storyline – and so much of it played out on a national stage. In Virginia’s Capitol of recent days, the truth is stranger than fiction. Yet from the midst of all the chaos has emerged one miraculous victory after another, and while this session didn’t end with a perfect record, we consider it a tremendous success. In Part 1 of our 2019 Session Recap, we highlight some of the issues involving life.
All 15 Abortion Bills Were Defeated (including "New York" counterpart and the so-called "ERA"), we have the most Pro-Life budget in decades, and we won a big victory in our Lawsuit over abortion facility regulations.
Roughly 15 bills to expand abortion in Virginia were introduced this year, and we are thrilled to report that ALL of them were defeated – including the infamous “New York” style abortion bill aimed at repealing essentially every restriction on abortion we’ve spent decades to put in place, and even allowing for abortions for any reason up to the moment of birth! And of course, there was also the whole fiasco of Governor Ralph Northam actually defending infanticide AFTER a baby is already born – and then doubling down on his position instead of backtracking or clarifying, with virtually every Democratic legislator and top official fully backing him up on it. A national firestorm ensued, and for the first time in a long time, we are actuallygetting to have a substantive public conversation about what abortion really is - and what many of our elected officials actually believe about it.
And as if that wasn’t intense enough, we faced (and defeated!) a nationalized effort to make Virginia the 38th and final state to ratify the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, which among many other terrible consequences, would likely be used to establish a new constitutional right to taxpayer-funded abortion. Despite every last effort to make Virginia the last to fall in a proxy-war over abortion and seemingly every other Leftist agenda item, we pulled out a victory - with credit belonging to a lot of good people, and especially the courageous leaders in the House. You can read more about the epic battle to defeat the ERA this year on our blog here, here, and here. While many important matters were going on these past few months, the 2019 session became, without question, the year dominated by life.
Watch our short video clip about some of it:
There were also several good foster care and adoption bills that passed this year. We also saw, for the very first time, a bill introduced to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which failed.
HJ 715 (R-Byron), a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting public funding of abortion, unfortunately, did not go forward – this despite our initiating a Mason-Dixon statewide poll confirming that 56% of Virginians oppose tax-paying funding of abortions, while only 34% support it. (with 10% undecided) Read more about what happened to it on our blog here.
The session ended on a high note with the House and Senate agreeing to what appears to be the most pro-life budget in decades! We are thrilled to report that three critically important pro-life amendments have made it into the final budget that has gone to the Governor for approval. They would: 1) Limit the public funding of abortions with the "Hyde Amendment", 2) Stop the “LARC” program dollars from flowing to abortion providers, and 3) Require the Health Department to report its reasons for approving state-funded abortions.
Finally, right in the middle of all these, we learned that we won our two-year legal battle over the Board of Health’s illegal repeal of many common-sense health and safety regulations for Virginia’s abortion facilities! Read about our victory here.
What an incredible year it was for life! We have so much to be thankful for and excited about. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our Session recaps on the other important issues that matter most to you.
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Deserve ProtectionFeb. 25, 2019
Last month Governor Northam calmly and meticulously made statements that support infanticide of babies born alive during abortion attempts. Those comments started a national conversation. Through that conversation we realized that 19 states allow abortion doctors to leave a baby, born alive after a failed abortion, alone to die.
That is what would have happened to Melissa Ohden, Josiah Presley, and Claire Culwell, just to name three examples of people who survived an abortion attempt.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) has introduced a bill, S.311, at the federal level to protect people like Melissa, Josiah, and Claire. It is called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
The Senate is going to vote on this bill tonight. Please take a moment to reach out to Senator Kaine and Senator Warner to tell them you support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. A vote against this life-saving bill is ultimately a vote in support of infanticide.
You can also reach out to your Senators by phone.
Sen. Tim Kaine- (202) 224-4024
Sen. Mark Warner (202) 224-2023
Thank you for taking action on this important federal bill today!
A Tragic Loss for Life and FamilyFeb. 22, 2019
On Wednesday, by a vote of 63-36 the House of Delegates, unfortunately, agreed to the Senate’s nominally-amended version of HB 1979 (D-48, Sullivan). (The Senate passed it 28-12.) The bill will now make its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Make no mistake, this legislation will bring a dramatic and harmful policy shift concerning the creation and treatment of human life, the rights of children, the basis for parenthood, the significance of marriage, and the dynamics of the parent-child relationship. Despite the numerous victories so far this session, the passage of HB 1979 is of profound damage to the family.
Some have called this bill "pro-life" because it will now allow single people and same-sex couples to contract with a surrogate mother to implant one or more of the one million "snowflake babies," which have been created in labs and are currently frozen. But those same legislators completely disregarded the obvious incentives this bill creates, which will only lead to countless more human embryos being created in labs, frozen, and left to languish. While we, too, want existing human embryos to have the opportunity to fully develop, this bill will only ensure this problem is multiplied.
Another reason this bill cannot be pro-life is because it allows surrogacy contracts to include forced abortions, including “selective reductions,” which is the horrific practice of killing some of the babies in the womb, while leaving one or more alive. Some contracts also allow the intended parents to be able to require abortion of the child(ren) if the child appears to have a disability, or simply if they change their minds about wanting the child. This is commonplace in surrogacy contracts, and current Virginia law does not prohibit these types of agreements. This bill will greatly expand the number of surrogacy contracts, but without doing anything to protect against forced abortions at the demands of the “intended parents.”
For the first time, this bill would sever the biological connection between a child and his or her parents before the child is ever born. Current law requires at least one parent to be a genetic parent of the child who is being intentionally created through assisted conception. This bill allows for there to be no genetic connection at all, replacing the legal basis for parenthood with a mere contract among willing adults, which effectively flips the current custodial paradigm of “best interests of the child” to one of merely the desires and intentions of any adult.
Tragically, this bill, for the first time, allows for a child to be intentionally and permanently deprived of either a mother or a father before they are even born, and for the entirety of their life. (The bill removed all the references to “father”, “mother”, “husband” and “wife”.) Yet every person innately understands the value of having both a mother and father, and those who grow up without either a mother or a father tend to have a deep longing to have and to know them. Since the bill now allows single and non-married persons to contract with someone to produce a child for them through surrogacy simply because they want one, this Commonwealth has just declared that when it comes to bringing children into the world, married homes are no more preferred than single-parent homes.
While the outcome is incredibly disappointing, we witnessed throughout the process incredible courage on the part of some legislators who did not succumb to the outside pressures to support this bill. We want to especially thank Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33, Hamilton) for his commitment to protecting unborn life and speaking on the House floor in opposition to HB 1979 several times, including his great floor speech yesterday. Watch it HERE.
HB 1979 is a clear illustration of the lengths that the Left (and now, even some on the Right) will go to in order to redefine the family by stripping away the biological connections between parents and children and to protect the barbaric practice of selective reduction and abortion.
Please pray for us as we continue to fight against these dangerous anti-life and anti-family policies.
ERA is Defeated for the LAST TimeFeb. 22, 2019
It's over once and for all (this year)!
After watching the ERA get defeated in the subcommittee and again in the full committee, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it has been finally defeated in the full House of Delegates this year.
In a desperate, last ditch effort to pass the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, Delegate Hala Ayala tried to change the very rules of the House of Delegates!
Take a moment to say Thank You to these House Republicans who recognized this last-second rule change for what it was, a political ploy by advocates of the so-called ERA to allow abortions on the day of one's birth with no restrictions whatsoever!
Here are all fifty of the Delegates who voted against the rule change to advance the ERA today.
Click here to thank your Delegate directly!
(Note: This will only work if you are their constituent.)
Speaker Kirk Cox, Les Adams, Terry Austin, Dickie Bell, Rob Bell, Rob Bloxom, Emily Brewer, Kathy J. Byron, Jeff Campbell, Ronnie Campbell, Mark Cole, Chris Collins, Glenn Davis, James Edmunds II, Matt Fariss, Buddy Fowler, Nick Freitas, Scott Garrett, Todd Gilbert, Chris Head, Gordon Helsel, Keith Hodges, Tim Hugo, Riley Ingram, Chris Jones, Terry Kilgore, Barry Knight, Steve Landes, Dave LaRock, Jay Leftwich, Danny Marshall, John McGuire III, Joe McNamara, Jason Miyares, Will Morefield, Israel O'Quinn, Bobby Orrock, Chris Peace, Todd Pillion, Brenda Pogge, Charles Poindexter, Margaret Ransone, Roxann Robinson, Nick Rush, Chris Stolle, Bob Thomas, Lee Ware, Michael Webert, Tony Wilt, and Thomas Wright.
Click here to thank your Delegate directly!
(Note: This will only work if you are their constituent.)
Democrats Now Advocating Forced Abortions?Feb. 20, 2019
Yesterday, we witnessed a rare and almost unbelievable debate on the Senate floor over a proposed amendment to HB 1979 (D-Sullivan), a bill that would bring a dramatic and dangerous policy shift concerning the creation and treatment of human life, the rights of children, the basis for parenthood, the significance of marriage, and the dynamics of the parent-child relationship. Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) introduced a much-needed amendment that would simply prevent the state from recognizing any clause within a surrogacy contract that required the surrogate mother to have an abortion or undergo the barbaric practice of "selective reduction" (killing one or more babies if multiple embryos developed).
We could hardly believe the debate that ensued. To our shock and dismay, every Democrat that got up to speak actually defended the ability of some people to force these vulnerable women to destroy the child(ren) inside their womb if the contract permitted the "intended parent(s)" to demand it - and for theoretically any reason. You can watch the entire floor debate HERE. (Start at 1:46:19 and go to 2:16:35)
Senator Peake, who did a phenomenal job defending the amendment, summarized his bill as follows: "This bill prevents people who are not going to carry a baby, and many times will never be able to carry a baby, from telling someone who is carrying a baby that she has to go in and kill that baby. That's the purpose of this amendment. And this amendment leaves that choice - that choice with the woman who is pregnant with the babies."
Apparently, that was just too much for Senate Democrats. Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City), in opposing the amendment, stated: "These decisions can and should be made between the parties to that contract, the woman who is putting her own life at risk to carry a child, and the family who is entrusting this woman to carry the child for them. And there is no reason we should not trust the three of them to enter into a contract that protects all of their interests." We couldn't help but wonder what happened to her otherwise standard line that "This is a decision solely between a woman and her doctor."
Adding to our shock, in a voice vote on the amendment, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax ruled that the "Nays" were louder and thus defeated the measure! The terrible bill then passed - and without ANY protections for the unborn lives, including for the countless thousands of frozen embryos.
Now the bill will be considered again by the House of Delegates either tomorrow or Thursday (since it was slightly different than the version it passed). This means it's the LAST CHANCE for the bill to be stopped or amended to make it somewhat less objectionable.
URGENT ACTION: Please click here to contact every Republican delegate claiming to be "pro-life" and urge them to ensure that - at the very least - unborn life is protected in this bill.
It's not too late - there is still time for the House to act! Please contact them now!
Urgent Action Needed: Stop Tax-Payer Funding of Abortion in VA's Budget!Feb. 19, 2019
This week, state budget negotiators are meeting to finalize amendments to the 2018-2020 biennium budget, and before them are three amendments critically important to the pro-life cause. They are designed to eliminate, reduce, and/or reprioritize the public funding of abortions and the subsidizing of abortion providers in Virginia.
ACTION: Please contact the House and Senate budget conferees now to urge them to support these critical pro-life budget amendments that protect taxpaying Virginians from funding more abortions!
Limiting Public Funding of Abortions
The first amendment, introduced by Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33, Hamilton), would simply bring Virginia in line with the majority of states and with the federal Hyde Amendment – limiting taxpayer funding for abortions to only the narrow cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Current Virginia law allows the state to pay for elective low-income abortions of unborn children with disabilities. This horrific practice forces taxpayers to fund the death of an unborn child if two physicians who work for the Department of Health think it’s justified. But how could it ever be justified?!? Life has intrinsic value, regardless of physical or mental challenges, and every child is worthy of life and should be ensured the opportunity to be valued members of society.
Defunding Planned Parenthood and Other Abortion Centers
A second amendment, introduced by Delegate Scott Garrett (R-23, Lynchburg), would prohibit the Department of Health from sending state funds to abortion centers, including Planned Parenthood, whether for abortion or anything else. It would also reprioritize the types of entities that the Health Department contracts with or provides grants for family planning services.
Stopping the “LARC” Funds from Flowing to Abortion Providers
The third amendment, introduced by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-12, Glen Allen), would modify the Long Active Reversible Contraception (LARC) program created in last year’s budget – despite our strong objection – to limit the use of those funds to only the purchase of the IUD device (with no dollars actually going to Planned Parenthood) and encourage partnerships with other organizations to reduce the average cost of the device. This amendment comes after the program resulted in nearly $3M being allocated to the abortion industry with very vague language defining its use.
ACTION: Please contact the budget conference committee members now and urge them to support these critical pro-life amendments!
Wormtongue’s Whispers, Herod’s Handmaids and the March for LifeFeb. 15, 2019
This is a guest blog from Author Mary Walsh.
Originally posted at www.be-notafraid.com
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien was a literary genius and a lover of language who understood its power and significance in the lives of men. For better or worse, words always precede other things. Tolkien’s character of Grima Wormtongue has a name which fits him like a glove. Wormtongue has King Theoden’s ear, but the conniving advisor is working for the enemy. Wormtongue uses his position of power and influence to the detriment of his king and his kingdom. When confronted by Gandalf about his behavior, Gandalf wastes little time and minces fewer words in his rebuke of Grima Wormtongue:
The wise speak only of what they know, Gríma son of Gálmód. A witless worm have you become. Therefore be silent, and keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a serving-man till the lightning falls.
In the days since the March for Life, I keep thinking about the significance of Wormtongue and his relevance to recent days.
On the eve of the March for Life, we were working on our signs for the March for Life on the kitchen table. I am convinced that most great things in life happen around the kitchen table. Around the kitchen table, families discuss the great issues of the day. Never let it be said that we did not stand up for those who had no voice. Now, it is true that there are many pre-printed signs available at the March, but I have a deep and undying love for making my own. There is something uniquely important and fundamentally necessary about making your own protest signs as an American. As toxic as the culture we live in seems to be, we are still blessed as American citizens to have the right to redress our grievances to our government. It is important that our children learn this vital civics lesson: that the rights guaranteed to us by our Constitution are real. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As the markers continued to squeak across the board, I mentioned that this would be the 46th March for Life. My daughter’s marker slowed as she filled in the hands on her sign, and looked at me with quizzical eyes. “What do you mean the 46th March for Life?” Clearly, there was something about the number 46 which was really bothering her. We sat there at the kitchen table as her mind processed what that meant. “Are you saying that in 46 years they haven’t figured out how to stop abortion?” The innocence of a young girl’s clarity of thought is beautiful, powerful and terrifying all at once. “All those people that we elect and send to Washington haven’t been able to stop this?” The confluence of anger, frustration and despair rose in her eyes at the thought that those entrusted with the basic safety of their citizens have been abysmal failures. I knew what the next question would be. “Then why are we going? What’s the point if no one is going to listen?” And there they were, just like that, the whispers of Wormtongue on the eve of the March for Life.
My heart hurt with that familiar despairing sort of pain I could read in her face. This is the kind of pain that tempts you to stay home and not to bother going. It’s the irritating and nagging thoughts and second guessing that all your efforts have been in vain. The cost is too high, your time is lost and no one is listening anyway. Why do we fight? Why do we bother? Why do we go? When the true darkness of what we are up against in this battle for life threatens to overtake us, we need to remember the words of St. Mother Teresa: “We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful.” In other words, the final battle is not ours to win. It never was. It has already been won by Christ. Our battle is to give witness to the truth so that others will come to realize that life is God’s beautiful gift to us. So we will go in the sun, or the rain or the snow. We will give witness to what we believe. The final battle has already been won; our faith tells us that. We will not be silent. We will not yield to the whispers of Wormtongue in the shadows.
The morning of the March dawned cold and gray with a promise of 52 degrees and sunny. However, as with many Marches, it was long on cold and short on sunny. We joined our fellow marchers for mass at our parish before embarking on the buses because the battle against the culture of death is not merely a temporal one. Arriving at the March to join 500,000 of our closest friends is one of the most remarkable and uplifting experiences you can have on planet Earth. Joyful people gathered to celebrate the God’s great gift of life from all ages, colors and abilities. The kids from Louisiana all had their snow boots, while kids from Virginia forgot theirs. College and high school kids abounded with unmatched enthusiasm. Mount St. Mary’s had an awesome band on the drums while marching up Constitution Avenue toward the Supreme Court.
Our family has been attending the March for four generations. In that time, the crowds have steadily increased every year. It is a reason for hope. Kids chanted brightly and boldly, “We love babies, yes we do. We love babies how about you?” They shared snacks, smiles, jokes and a few snowballs. College kids buoyantly raised their signs, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go.” Finally, after a long hiatus of support from the White House prior to 2016, Vice-President and Mrs. Pence addressed the crowd followed by President Trump on the jumbotron. The Marchers will be there whether or not it snows, or whether or not the president addresses the March, but there is no denying that it is absolutely significant and heartening that the current White House administration cares enough about right to life to show up and be counted.
Why do we attend the March? I remember a speech by the ever eloquent Congressman from Illinois, Henry Hyde, who said at the end of his life, he hoped that when he arrived at the heavenly gates that his work for the unborn would not go unnoticed, and that those unborn babies would recognize him when he arrived at doorstep of heaven.
We cannot and will not be silent. Three ensnaring traps lay in silence: despair, ambivalence and acceptance. Despair is a pit; don’t fall into it. The Lord said, “I will not leave you orphans.” You can take that to the bank. Despair gains nothing and costs everything. Re-evaluate the picture and recognize that you won’t win this battle by yourself, but that doesn’t mean that your own contribution to the pro-life cause is meaningless. Pray and Act. Prayer is absolutely necessary to this battle. Help those mothers in need. Encourage mothers and fathers in their parenthood. Vote pro-life. Question those candidates who claim to be pro-life. It doesn’t help the cause to elect a politician who is personally opposed to abortion but who steadily votes for it once ensconced in office.
The end result of having a “personally opposed” politician in office is aptly described in A Man for All Seasons in the words of St. Thomas More to Cardinal Wolsey: “Well, I believe when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties…they lead their country on a short route to chaos.” Elections have consequences at every level of government. Pro-life legislators need your help to get elected. Talk with your neighbors, families and friends and keep those lines of communication open. Ambivalence is always deadly because it inevitably turns to inaction. Acceptance of the status quo is a nonstarter. Roe v. Wade is not settled law. No amount of laws will ever justify the travesty of injustice wrought by the killing of innocent children.
If the truth sets men free; silence keeps men captive to a lie. As we approached the top of the hill near the Supreme Court during the March, there were a number of brave women standing with signs such as “Conceived in Rape” and “Punish the rapist not the child.” In the eyes of several of these brave women were tears. This heroism should not go unnoticed. The tears bear witness to the cost of their suffering. These are tears rarely seen in public and even more rarely talked about in print, but their suffering is real and because of it more people will know the truth that abortion only hurts everyone involved.
My teenage daughter was right. Forty-six years is forty-six years too many, but with the help of God’s grace, our perseverance will endure. Wormtongue’s whispers will continue to lurk in the shadows while his minions work exhaustively, much as they did in the days of King Herod. If you have any doubt about this, just watch these video clips below of Delegate Kathy Tran and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in their own Herodian words. The ancient Romans gave the power of life and death over their children to the father; our society gives it to the mother, but it is all the same innocent victim.
The video of Delegate Tran is galling not only in its honesty but in its sheer barbarism. Governor Northam’s response to questions about this bill are not only horrific but calmly stated in his soft southern accent as he deceptively weaves the concept of palliative care for infants with what has since been called a fourth trimester abortion. Of course, there is no such thing as a fourth trimester in pregnancy, and the reality is that cloaking it as such is just another one of myriad of attempts to hide the truth from ourselves because we just can’t handle it. Governor Northam’s conflation of palliative care and abortion is also a grave insult to every mother and father who has held their preterm or full term baby in their arms as their hearts beat as one for a short while before the new life, not long for this earth, ebbs slowly into the next one due to an untreatable medical condition and not as the result of intentional killing. The governor’s words are a slap in the face to every good medical professional who abides by the Hippocratic Oath in caring for these children. These modern-day handmaids of Herod seek only to preserve their own thrones, as he did, by sacrificing innocent children for the sake of raw, pathetic, political power.
At the end of the day after we got home from the March, my daughter and I shared a cup of hot tea at the kitchen table. She said, “You know, the March for Life is one of those things that you’re always glad you went to when you get home.” Indeed. When I get to heaven’s gate, I want to hear the babies say, “She was there. She was with us. She was not silent.”
Join The Family Foundation and thousands of pro-life Virginians for the first Virginia March for Life being held on April 3, 2019 at the Capitol. Click Here to Register Today.
Watch Delegate Kathy Tran testify about her bill.
The Governor Speaks:
Bill to Make Babies Legal Property Passes House, Goes to Senate!Feb. 08, 2019
As I told you earlier this week, HB 1979 (D-Sullivan) is one of the most Anti-Family bills we've seen that actually has a shot at passing.
With your emails and calls, and The Family Foundation team's lobbying efforts, HB 1979 has taken some major hits, but unfortunately it still passed the House of Delegates this week on a vote of 61-36. (Watch the video clip of the House floor debate where Delegate Dave LaRock masterfully critiques this bill, joined by Delegates Brenda Pogge and Nick Freitas.) Now it has been assigned to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, and will most likely be voted on next week!
This bill will open up Pandora's Box on critical matters involving Life, Parental Rights, and the most basic notions of what it means to be a family. It must be stopped.
Some are naively calling this bill "pro-life" because it will make it easier for single people and same-sex couples to enter into surrogacy contracts to implant one of the one million "snowflake babies" which have been created in labs and are currently frozen. But even setting aside the terrible public policy decision of encouraging children to be born into the world without both a mom and a dad, nothing in this bill would limit the continued proliferation of more and more lab-created human beings, most of which will be forever frozen or destroyed.
Here are some of the terrible consequences of this bill:
1) Recognizes in VA law (for the first time since the 1860s) human beings as property to be “owned” by others.
The bill language inserts “owns”, “owned”, or “ownership” 8 times to refer to human embryos. (A new concept and legal term of art.)
2) Multiplies and expands the commodification of human beings to potentially be exchanged, traded, bought, and sold.
Children are not commodities to be sold or bartered!
3) Creates a new legal presumption for parenthood that is not tied to biology, undermining the parental rights of ALL parents.
This will cause serious long-term damage to our society. Imagine the immeasurable damage to a child when they will now grow up to be told that they never had a father, or that they never had a mother.
4) Encourages the creation of babies without both a mom and a dad because it would now allow any single individual to contract with a surrogate to obtain a baby.
Unmarried homes create more unstable environments for children.
5) Greatly diminishes the nuclear family with a dad, a mom, and their resulting biological (or adopted) children.
The breakdown of the family and familial bonds is the single greatest cause of ALL of the other social ills we face since the nuclear family is the bedrock societal institution.
6) Leads to the commercialization of “lab-babies” with no parents, which will lead to selection based on certain desired traits.
This will lead to countless human lives being created and destroyed in labs.
7) Erases terms like “husband” and “wife”, “his” and “her”, to replace them with gender-neutral language.
This further blurs important distinctions between male and female and removes child-rearing from the sexual/procreational/conjugal union of a man and woman, leading to the commodification of children, and ultimately to government assumption of parental rights.