By Dave Andrusko
If you live in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area you know that as hard as the Washington Post is on pro-life Congressional Republicans, the newspaper is even tougher on Virginia pro-lifers. The bias is so entrenched, so deep, so all-pervasive, I’m sure the reporters and editorial page writers do not even know their coverage is blatantly one-sided.
Which brings me to an amusing story that ran in the Post Sunday under the headline, “Va. bill to restrict abortion fizzled. Here’s why abortion foes are oddly upbeat.”
The bill Post reporter Jenna Portnoy refers to as having “fizzled” is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which commonsensically would forbid aborting an unborn child who is capable of experiencing pain as they are torn apart. That maturation occurs by 20 weeks or five months post-fertilization, if not earlier.
And to her credit, Portnoy lays out many of the reasons pro-lifers are undeterred by their inability to prevail this legislative session.
I would summarize her explanation in four parts.
State Del. David A. LaRock (R-Loudoun) introduced the measure for the second year in a row. Portnoy quotes him saying
“I really believe when people on either side of the aisle realize what this bill is about, we’ll come together and just say this can’t be done in a society that has regard for human life,” said LaRock, who teared up during an interview as he spoke of his 15 children and grandchildren. “So that’s why I’m passionate about it.”
He ultimately agreed to put the bill on hold for a year, but the effort proves that Republicans’ commitment to the issue has not waned since their failed 2012 attempt to require vaginal ultrasounds made Virginia a national punch line.
So, pro-lifers are, first, encouraged because the Republican Party is committed to advancing this bill, and second, because, like LaRock, they are persuaded once the truth makes its way past the media filter, people of good will agree it is a humane action to take.
Polling supports that conclusion. As Portnoy observes
Public opinion shows support for a 20-week ban. A national Quinnipiac Pollin November 2014 found that 60 percent of respondents support a 20-week abortion ban, including 76 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents.
Third, in 2018 there will be an election to find the successor to Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) — a self-professed “brick wall” against limits on abortion — who is a pro-abortion extremist by any criteria. Portney correctly characterizes pro-lifers’ strategy as “playing a long game.”
Olivia Gans, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, a state affiliate of the National Right to Life campaign, said it took advocates 20 years to pass a parental-consent law in Virginia.
“Hopefully, when there’s a pro-life governor in office, we’ll be able to see not only the passage but also the signature of this bill into law,” she said of the [Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act].
And fourth, “This is straight from their playbook,” Del. Charniele L. Herring (D-Alexandria) said of the 20-week ban. She told Portney, “This is something they have tried in the past. Unfortunately, this is something they are serious about.”
Yes, pro-lifers not only in Virginia but all over the nation are serious about passing a bill to stop these horrific abortions, whether it be (hopefully) this session or down the line.
Pro-lifers, in a word, never give up.