By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL)
The 2018 General Assembly wraps up this week. It was a surprisingly busy year. A total of 12 pro-abortion bills were defeated and pro-life members of the General Assembly were solid defenders of Virginia’s many pro-life laws.
SB222, the Senate Version of the Life Sustaining Treatment bill that VSHL has been working on for over two years, has passed out of the House of Delegates. The measure had already passed the state Senate.
VSHL believes strongly that this bill will provide much needed protections under the law to patients whose doctors want to stop life-saving treatment. Under the current law a doctor can stop providing life-sustaining treatment even if the patient has legally stated their wish that such treatment should continue.
The next step for this bill is the Governor’s desk. The deadline for action by Gov. Northam is April 9th, 2018.
The new provisions will include anti-discriminatory language that gives more protection to patients who are particularly vulnerable. Treatment can’t be removed based on age, disability or other similar factors. The new language also provides tighter protections on the administration of nutrition and hydration.
Importantly, the new language protects the patient or their advocate’s ability to go to a court, if need be. Sadly, that may be important in some cases.
Please contact your Delegate and thank them for their vote, if he or she voted in favor of SB222. (See below.)
PERINATAL HOSPICE BILL
VSHL has always understood that pro-life efforts must be engaged in protecting all stages of human life. This year at the General Assembly we’ve had a good opportunity to work with legislators to pass a new law that will protect all of us and the ones we love.
Unfortunately, the Perinatal Hospice bill didn’t gain traction this year. However we were able to do a great deal of successful education with many members who were totally unfamiliar with this positive and compassionate new area of medical care.
This new form of care for families facing the tragic death of a baby shortly after birth due to a serious health condition is expanding across Virginia and America. It is our hope to try again next year to get this information into every doctor’s office and into the hands of every family facing this tragedy.
Thank you to all of you who took the time to contact your Senator and Delegate during this Session. Please contact your delegate if they voted in favor of SB222.
This is how your Delegate voted on March 7th, 2018:
YEAS–Adams, L.R., Austin, Bagby, Bell, John J., Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Bloxom, Bourne, Boysko, Brewer, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Cline, Cole, Collins, Davis, Delaney, Edmunds, Fariss, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Freitas, Garrett, Gilbert, Gooditis, Head, Helsel, Heretick, Herring, Hodges, Hugo, Hurst, Ingram, James, Jones, S.C., Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Krizek, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, Lopez, Marshall, McGuire, McQuinn, Miyares, Morefield, Mullin, Murphy, O’Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Plum, Ransone, Reid, Robinson, Rodman, Rush, Sickles, Simon, Stolle, Sullivan, Thomas, Torian, Toscano, Tran, Turpin, Tyler, VanValkenburg, Ware, Watts, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Mr. Speaker–80.
NAYS–Adams, D.M., Aird, Ayala, Carroll Foy, Carter, Convirs-Fowler, Guzman, Habeeb, Hayes, Hope, Jones, J.C., Levine, Pogge, Poindexter, Price, Rasoul, Roem, Ward–18.
NOT VOTING–Kory, Lindsey–2. (Delegate was absent from the General Assembly today)