Virginia Legislature Sides With McDonnell, Stops Taxpayer-Funded Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
April 22, 2010
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — The Virginia state legislature last night sided with pro-life Gov. Bob McDonnell by upholding his amendment to the state budget to cut taxpayer-funded abortions. The move makes it so the state will cut out funding for about 99 percent of all abortions it previously paid for before.
Last week, McDonnell amended the FY 2011-12 state budget to prohibit taxpayer funding of most elective abortions for low-income residents. That includes abortions in cases where the unborn child is merely disabled or has a condition such as Down syndrome.
The Family Foundation and pro-life groups had been working for the ban on taxpayer funding of abortion for decades and its director Victoria Cobb was elated.
"The amendment brings Virginia substantially in line with federal law," which allows states to cut off most abortion funding except in a few very rare cases.
"Prior to the Governors amendment, Virginia was one of only 17 states that funded elective (health of the mother) abortions," Cobb added.
The Family Foundation lobbyists were confident of a win in the House, which supported the pro-life amendment 64 to 30 with 1 abstention, but were on edge with the Senate. The Senate was evenly divided and pro-life advocates worried with pro-life Lt. Governor Bill Bolling stuck in Europe because of the Iceland volcano that he would unable to break a tie vote.
Senator Dick Saslaw, a Democrat, led the charge against the amendment.
"In a bizarre statement and in contradiction to a legal opinion from the Attorney General, the opposition claimed that if this amendment passed, state employee abortions would no longer be covered by the state health plan. It is our understanding that state employees cannot be reimbursed for abortion expenditures anyway, so the claim appeared unfounded," Cobb explained.
Senator Mark Obenshain, a Republican, was the one and only voice in the Senate advocating for the Governors amendment.
The Senate passed the amendment 20-19 with Democrat Senators Chuck Colgan Phil Puckett, and Roscoe Reynolds joining all Republicans in attendance to pass the amendment.
Virginia NARAL, which argued for forcing state residents to pay for abortions, said it was disappointed by the vote.
"The Virginia Legislature has let all Virginians down by approving the Governor’s budget amendment to deny Medicaid funding to women needing abortions," it said.
During this years General Assembly session, a similar amendment was passed by the House of Delegates but was not voted on in the Senate. Pro-abortion Senate budget negotiators made sure it wasn’t included in the final budget.
Prior to McDonnell’s amendment, Virginia was one of only 17 states that funds elective health of the mother abortions. Since 2007, taxpayers have been forced to pay for 15 abortions on disabled children.
Related web sites:
Family Foundation – https://www.familyfoundationblog.com
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