By Dave Andrusko
Adapting to Virginia’s new playing field, Round One in what is expected to be a tenacious struggle today went to pro-lifers. And then it didn’t. But it should have.
I’m alluding to the pro-abortion effort in the Senate to repeal S.B. 617. The measure would repeal the state’s ultrasound law which requires the abortionist to perform a ultrasound prior to the abortion and to offer the woman (the mother) the opportunity to look at the ultrasound to see her child.
If you remember, NRL News Today posted countless stories showing how pro-abortionists demagogued the ultrasound requirement to the point where even some of their supporters were queasy with their “rape by instrument” rhetoric.
So, how did pro-lifers lose (but not really) today? Some explanation—actually a lot of explanation—is in order.
Pro-abortionists in Virginia now occupy the governor’s office—Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The Senate is equally divided among Democrats and Republicans. If everyone votes along party lines, the tie is broken by pro-abortion Lt. Governor Ralph Northam.
But pro-abortion Democrats added another change to grease the skids.
“One of the Democrats’ first actions was to reorganize the health and education committee, which hears most choice-related bills, so that it now has a pro-choice majority,” wrote Emily Crockett for the pro-abortion site Rhrealitycheck.org. “NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia hailed the move as a huge victory for women’s health.”
Which takes us back to today’s roller coaster ride.
On the first vote, S.B. 617 lost 22-18, which included opposition from pro-life Democratic Senator Charles Colgan. That should have been the end of the matter for today, at least.
But pro-abortion Sen. Linda Puller announced she had inadvertently voted against SB 617. (Puller later denied to reporters that this was a strategy.) She is allowed to change her vote (from no to yes), eventually leading to a tie vote.
Only someone who votes in the majority can ask for a do-over—a.k.a. a ‘re-vote’ or ‘reconsideration.’ Having “accidently” voted in the majority, Puller exercised that prerogative.
But the measure still would still have lost on reconsideration had Sen. Colgan not mistakenly cast the wrong vote. He asked to change his vote. But unlike Sen. Puller, Sen. Colgan was not allowed to change his vote (in this case from yes to no), even though he had unintentionally voted in the majority on the second ballot.
Of course, in the spirit of fair play, the Democrats could have agreed to vote for a third time and allow Sen. Colgan to change his vote as Puller was allowed to change hers. But that requires unanimous consent. There was one dissenter—Sen. Mamie Locke, the bill’s sponsor.
Pullen told the Virginia Pilot “the irony is the bill passed when it wouldn’t have.” Irony?
This is about as low as you can sink. So much for “The Virginia Way.”
“Pro-abortion forces in Virginia cannot rightfully claim victory on this matter since it has been made clear that if allowed to, the majority of Senators would have voted against this bill to repeal the ultrasound law,” said Olivia Gans Turner, President of the Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL).
SB 617 will now be sent to the House of Delegates on February 11th. VSHL is hopeful that the House of Delegates will act to protect this reasonable pro-life law.
“Today’s attempt to repeal this important law is not in the best interest and well-being and rights of women,” said Gans Turner. “Requiring that all abortionists perform an ultrasound allows women the best chance possible of getting all the facts they need about their unborn child before making the life and death decision of abortion.”
Pro-abortionists had less success with SB 618, which did not pass, a truer reflection of the Senate’s position. That bill that would have reversed the law that prevents Virginia tax funds from paying for abortions under the new health care exchanges.
Two pro-life Democrats voted with the Republicans on SB 618.