Virginia Pro-Lifers Pick Up Senate, Defeat Abortion Activist

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 9, 2011   |   11:42AM   |   Richmond, VA

Pro-life advocates in Virginia experienced a major election victory last night as they captured the Virginia State Senate, which had been a thorn in the side for years preventing the passage of life-saving legislation on abortion.

The victory was made possible by pro-life candidate Bryce Reeves defeating long-time pro-abortion state Senator Edd Houck, hose position as chairman of the powerful Education and Health Committee allowed him to prevent pro-life legislation from reaching the Senate floor making him, what SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser calls “a consistent ally to the pro-abortion movement.”

“Bryce Reeves’ win tonight is a tremendous victory for the pro-life movement and for the people of Virginia,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told LifeNews. “Senator Houck has stood in opposition to countless pro-life legislation, preventing much of it from even reaching the floor for debate. With the election of Mr. Reeves, we expect that common sense pro-life legislation will now be able to move through the Senate and signed into law.”

The Susan B. Anthony List spent $25,000 in radio, print and mail campaigns to help ensure the defeat of Houck.

In addition to Reeves, incumbent Jill Vogel (VA-27) – also, an SBA List-endorsed candidate – won her election bid. The elected also netted Republicans the wins necessary to claim a majority in the Virginia state Senate, something Dannenfelser says will prove a necessary first step in defunding Planned Parenthood in Virginia.

“All around the country, states have taken up the effort of defunding Planned Parenthood,” explained Dannenfelser. “With the Virginia state Senate in the hands of a pro-life majority, that effort can begin in this critical swing-state.”

Dannenfelser also recognized Caren Merrick and Patricia Phillips, state Senate candidate in districts 31 and 33, respectively, for their hard fought campaigns against incumbent pro-abortion Democrats.

“These women have taken the first steps in the courageous fight of giving voice to the unborn and we look forward to future and continued involvement.”

Karen Cross, the political director for the National Right to Life Committee, also commented on the tremendous pro-life victory in Virginia.

She explained:  “Virginia’s off-year election proved to be beneficial for the babies. Pro-lifers already control the governor’s office and the House of Delegates. Tuesday’s election in Virginia replaced two pro-abortion state senators with two pro-life senators, giving pro-life Senators control in the Commonwealth. (Pro-life candidates easily retained control of the House of Delegates.)”

“A nail-biter to the end, pro-abortion Democratic state Senator Edd Houck, Chair of the Senate Health and Education Committee, appears to have lost by 86 votes to his pro-life challenger, a race in which Virginia Society for Human Life PAC, a National Right to Life affiliate, played a key role,” she said.

Holly Smith, Virginia Society for Human Life PAC chairman also weighed in on election night.

“This election proves that the pro-life increment is decisive in close races,” she said. “We devoted our efforts to educating voters on the extreme voting records of pro-abortion incumbent senators. As of this writing, pro-life challenger Bryce Reeves leads pro-abortion incumbent State Sen. Edd Houck, in a race where the life issue was dominant in the closing days of the campaign. Once the results are confirmed, we will have the votes we need in the General Assembly to pass meaningful laws to protect innocent life.”

Olivia Gans, Virginia Society for Human Life President, agreed.

“For far too many years pro-abortion members of the Virginia Senate have controlled the fate of protective pro-life legislation in the General Assembly,” she said. “Pro-lifers are in the majority in the House of Delegates but pro-abortion members in charge of the Senate Health and Education Committee have ensured that every pro-life bill is killed without any debate.”

Gans believes, “The victories in this election will allow us to work toward the passage of truly protective legislation, like the Pain Capable Protection Act, and continue the prominent legislative legacy of VSHL.”