Virginia Pro-Life Laws Set to Take Effect July 1

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 26, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Pro-Life Laws Set to Take Effect July 1

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 26, 2003

Richmond, VA ( — Two key pro-life laws passed by the Virginia state legislature are set to take effect July 1. One implements parental consent before a teenage girl can have an abortion and the second is another attempt by the legislature to ban partial-birth abortions.

Starting this year, parents not only have to be informed by an abortion facility when their daughter comes in for an abortion, but they must give approval for it or it cannot be performed.

Pro-life legislators promoted the law as an effort to strengthen the existing parental notification statute and further decrease the number of teen abortions performed annually in Virginia.

"This law is going to have an enormous effect," said pro-life Del. Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, the bill’s chief sponsor. "In states that have moved from a fairly weak parental notice (law) to a strong consent law, we see that it has substantially reduced the total numbers of abortions overall."

Eileen Roberts, the newly-minted Executive Director of the Virginia Society for Human Life, told the parental consent law was a boon for Virginia parents.

Roberts knows first-hand the effects an abortion done on a teen without parental involvement can have. Her own daughter had an abortion without her knowledge and Eileen and her husband were forced to pay for more than $25,000 in medical bills following severe medical complications after the abortion.

"July 1st will be a great day in Virginia when parents of minor aged adolescent daughters can put their arms around their daughter’s and say ‘I love you, we can work this through together,’" Roberts said.

"Just because abortion is legal in this country it is not necessarily safe and our daughters and grandchildren will be protected from predators who think that they have more of a right to our children then parents do," Roberts added.

The other law prohibits abortion practitioners from performing partial-birth abortions. The law defines the procedure as an abortion performed when the baby has emerged from the birth canal or, in a feet-first birth, the fetus has emerged as far as its navel.

The pro-life law will face a legal challenge from pro-abortion groups who say the banned procedure is too broad and could be interpreted to ban other forms abortion.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, passed the House and Senate on lopsided votes. Legislators also overturned an amendment by pro-abortion Gov. Mark Warner to add a "health exception" to the bill. Pro-life lawmakers said it would render the bill meaningless and all any partial-birth abortions to remain legal supposedly to protect a woman’s health.

"This common sense legislation will defend the most helpless, the child in the process of birth from being killed," Roberts explained.  "Additionally, this bill distinguishes the truth – where abortion ends and infanticide begins."