By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL)
With only a week and a half to go before the close of the 2019 Virginia General Assembly, there is still so much pro-life work to get done!
*A vote was taken Wednesday by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on HB 1979. This controversial bill would amend the current state law regarding surrogacy arrangements and the treatment of embryos created in Virginia.
VSHL offered Senators an amendment that would prohibit any contracts requiring that the embryo be destroyed, or that a “selective reduction” abortion be performed. (This refers to aborting some of the multiple embryos who successfully implant in a mother’s uterus.)
While not directly addressing the practice of creating embryonic babies through in-vitro fertilization (which the law already allows in the Commonwealth), the amendment would help to prevent state-sanctioned destruction of these unborn babies.
The VSHL pro-life amendment was defeated in a tie vote of seven to seven . Only one committee member did not vote:
Senators voting Yea: Obenshain, Peake, Stanley, Reeves, McDougal, Stuart, Sturtevant.
Senators voting Nay: Norment, Deeds, Howell, Saslaw, Lucas, Edwards, Petersen.
Senator Chafin did not vote on the VSHL amendment.
The bill, without the VSHL amendment, was ultimately reported out of the Senate Courts of Justice committee by a vote of 9-6. Now it goes to the floor for a vote in the full Senate. It may be possible to amend HB 1979 from the floor.
*VSHL is also lobbying hard on the prevention of Virginia tax funds from being used to pay for the killing of unborn babies diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality. This is a matter being debated as part of the 2019 Budget process.
The Virginia Dept of Health reports that the number of babies aborted for this reason has jumped significantly under the pro-abortion administrations of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and current Gov. Ralph Northam. Since 2016 the VA Dept. of Health reports 72 such abortions, and the numbers for 2018 are not yet final!
These babies are the very ones that Gov. Northam was discussing in his radio comments! He and others at the General Assembly want your taxes to pay for these little ones’ deaths. You must send your message this week to say, absolutely not!
Please contact the Republican members of the Conference Committee ASAP! Ask them to fix the Hyde Amendment in Virginia to stop the use of our taxes to fund abortions for severely disabled babies. They are
Sen. Steve Newman
Sen. Emmett Hanger
Sen. Tommy Norment
Del. Chris Peace
Del. Scott Garrett
Del. Barry Knight
Del. Chris Jones
Del. Steve Landes
Contact the General Assembly here.
*And just to keep things interesting here in Richmond, there was a pro-ERA protest at the Capitol this morning. The supporters still think there is a way to force a vote on the floor of the House before the Session ends next Saturday! (The ERA was defeated in a House Courts of Justice subcommittee.)
The “Ratify ERA” website is reminding supporters that the last meeting of the House Privileges and Elections Committee is this Friday. They are determined to keep this issue alive at the General Assembly and then to use it in the November elections. We hope they fail, but it’s up to all of us!
We must stay alert about this and educate our friends as well as continue to ask our state legislators to oppose the pro-abortion ERA. Even after the session ends, please stay in touch with your Senator and Delegate. Arrange a visit at their local office and thank them for stopping passage of the ERA in Virginia this year, or ask them to reconsider their vote for the future!