By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life
As most of America knows, some states recently have provided greater protections to unborn children which have resulted in appeals to the Supreme Court.
Most of the attention this past year has been on the Mississippi law that would prevent abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation (Dobbs v. Jackson), and Texas laws that are awaiting court decisions to resolve their legality. The Texas Heartbeat law is active still and saving lives, but may face new challenges in the courts.
The decision in Dobbs will likely be handed down by the end of June. Pro-lifers all await the action of the court with bated breath. The court may or may not shift the lines as dramatically as many of us hope, but it will most certainly continue to create a path for more and more protective laws. Virginia passed many such laws over the course of the last decade, yet they were tossed out by recent pro-abortion leaders in the General Assembly.
Whatever the court decides in Dobbs, it will mean a lot of hard work for pro-lifers in the states, including Virginia. At this moment, Virginia is one of those states where abortionists practice with little or no checks. The only pro-life laws still on the books in the commonwealth are a parental consent law and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. The General Assembly in 2020 removed virtually every other protective provision for unborn babies and their mothers.
This means Virginia could become a destination for women whose employers pay them to travel for an abortion that would be illegal in their home state.
Already, Citigroup has announced to stockholders that they will pay for employees to do just that.
In the March 2022 stockholder report, to be presented at the April 26 shareholders meeting, the following quote appeared on page 20: “In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources.”
Apple has told news outlets that it, too, pays for employees’ abortions and related travel expenses if the state they live in prevents such an abortion. Many fear that, if the Supreme Court allows for greater state protections for the unborn, more businesses may follow suit.
So, what’s to be done? The answer lies in the grassroots — as always.
The responsibility of pro-life citizens to change the culture depends on our willingness to step up and be heard in the legislative process. Elections do have consequences, and nobody knows that as well as the pro-life movement. We saw that this year in the Virginia General Assembly as, one by one, important pro-life bills were defeated in the state senate. That may continue until the next elections in 2023.
Virginia Society for Human Life is the oldest statewide, pro-life organization in the nation, with chapters throughout the commonwealth and is the Virginia affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. Last month, my organization helped organize Defending Life Day at the General Assembly along with the Arlington and Richmond dioceses and Virginia Catholic Conference. Never doubt that your comments to your elected officials can make a difference.
Editors note. This first appeared in the Arlington Catholic Herald.