Virginia Legislature Defeats Pro-Abortion Bill Attacking Pregnancy Centers
by Steven Ertelt
January 27, 2010
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — The Virginia state legislature wasted little time rejecting bills sponsored by abortion advocates attacking pregnancy centers that provide pregnant women with help and support. The Virginia affiliate of NARAL designed the legislation to intimidate women who go to pregnancy centers for options counseling.
The bill, which followed a new ordinance the Baltimore city council approved to target pregnancy centers, sought to remove the funding stream available to pregnancy centers via the purchase of Choose Life license plates.
The bills (SB 188 and HB 452) would have required the centers to post signs saying they don’t do abortions and that would have given women the impression the centers are not legitimate, professional or that they give inaccurate medical advice.
However, both the House and Senate versions of this legislation were killed in subcommittee late Tuesday.
"This was the best possible outcome we could have ever imagined," Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb told LifeNews.com.
Patroned by Delegate Charniele Herring (D-26, Alexandria) in the House and Senator Ralph Northam (D-6, Norfolk) in the Senate, these bills, as Cobbs said, "would have required PRCs amongst other requirements to put a sign on their door that essentially says they are not health care facilities and don’t provide abortions or contraception."
"The legislation would have also forced PRCs to abide by regulations created by the Department of Health," she said.
"Beyond unwarranted burdensome regulations, this bill would have also removed PRCs that have medical practitioners on staff from being eligible for proceeds generated by Choose Life plates, essentially punishing those centers that go the extra mile to provide free ultrasounds to their patients," Cobb added.
In the Senate Education and Health, Health Care subcommittee, Northam introduced the bill along with Wendy Klein, (a conference chair for The VCU Institute of Womens Health, who presented NARAL’s attack on the centers.
They claimed pregnancy centers presented medically inaccurate information and that they intimidated women into making a decision without giving her all the options.
Supporting the centers, representatives of Family Foundation, Virginia Catholic Conference, and Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists joined pregnancy centers officials and past clients.
"Statistics and stories were presented and one after another, the NARAL fabrication began to unravel," Cobb said.
Asking some revealing questions, subcommittee member Senator Steve Newman unpacked the premise that a marketplace competitor to pregnancy centers, Planned Parenthood and its supporters, could do an unbiased, scientifically valid investigation of them.
Seeing the opposition, Northam made a motion to pass by his bill for this year. Newman seconded the motion and the bill was unanimously defeated.
Supporters and opponents then relocated to the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions subcommittee room to hear HB 452.
Delegates Bobby Orrock, Jimmie Massie and Chris Stolle, all Republicans, asked detailed questions designed to kill the bill.
Stolle challenged Klein to put on her science cap and to answer whether she considered the NARAL report to be findings academically solid.
"Stammering to truthfully answer his question without giving away the gaping holes in NARALs report, Dr. Klein hemmed and hawed and then somewhat conceded that NARALs report was not the golden standard NARAL would have it made out to be," Cobb said.
A motion was made by Delegate Massie to pass the bill by indefinitely and HB 452 died in a party line vote of 4-3.
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