Virginia Defeats Bill to End Tax-Funded Abortions on Disabled Babies

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2013   |   5:46PM   |   Richmond, VA

The Virginia legislature defeated a bill (SB 826) that would have eliminated state taxpayer funding for the abortion of children with disabilities was defeated on an 8-7 vote today.

Victoria Cobb, President of the Family Foundation, lamented the vote today in an email LifeNews received:

My heart grieves that the policy of the Commonwealth will remain – a policy that denies the intrinsic worth of every life no matter the challenges they may or may not face.

First and foremost, The Family Foundation would like to extend its utmost gratitude to Senator Tom Garrett (R-22, Louisa) for his bravery and impeccable defense of life through his willingness to patron and actively advocate on behalf of SB 826. His courage and sacrifice do not go unnoticed. Please contact Senator Tom Garrett ([email protected]) to express your thanks for his principled stand despite dissuasion from those both outside and within his party.

Parents of children with disabilities, a perinatal nurse, a lobbyist for the Catholic Conference who although diagnosed with cerebral palsy defied all predictions and now lives life to the fullest, and representatives from pro-life organizations including The Family Foundation testified on behalf of SB 826. The lobbyist for the Catholic Conference boldly challenged members of the committee to tell him that his life is one not worth living!

One father, who attended with his adopted daughter who was born without limbs, testified about his adopted son, George. Born without arms, George has become an accomplished guitar, cello, and piano player and has played for bands with national acclaim. George, who would qualify under current law to be aborted with taxpayer funds, proves that he is not “incompatible with life.”

Click here to view a moving video of George’s family – many of whom would qualify to have their abortion funded under the current law. The perinatal nurse spoke to her experience of providing palliative care to the unborn and newly born and the healing that even a few hours of life of a severely disabled newborn brings to a hurting family.

The opposition then stood up and made claims that abortion is the “compassionate choice.” It was unconscionable on the heels of such moving, emotional testimony from disabled children, adoptive parents, and a perinatal nurse! In an unfortunate end to the debate Senator Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake), bowing to political pressure, joined all 7 democrats to defeat the bill.

Meanwhile, Cobb said an effort to repeal the update to informed consent to allow a mother to view the image of her unborn child prior to deciding to have an abortion, an effort to repeal the abortion center safety regulations, and an effort to redefine “birth control” to include abortifacients were thwarted 8-7 (party line) in the Senate Education and Health committee this morning as well.

The repeal bill of the update to informed consent was next. This legislation was passed last year to allow women the opportunity to see a picture of their unborn child prior to making a life-altering decision. While ultrasounds were protocol prior to the legislation (the abortion industry even admits it!), abortionists were hiding the picture from women to prevent the possibility of women changing their minds, reducing profit. This window into the womb is powerful and no matter the choice of a woman, it allows her a more informed choice and reduces regret. Ultimately, the ultrasound addition to informed consent is about requiring an abortionist to turn the screen. The Family Foundation testified to the importance of this law. Abortion activists, Planned Parenthood, the Virginia chapter of NOW, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, the ACLU, and the Medical Society of Virginia testified in favor of repealing the ultrasound law. However, the committee was not convinced and the bill passed 8-7.

During the abortion center safety debate, the abortion industry lined up speakers praising abortion centers and the “good work” that they do. One man, an OBGYN testifying on behalf of the abortion industry, praised the safety of the abortion procedure and stated that he was unaware of any abortion complications, a fascinating proclamation since EMS have arrived at least two abortion centers in Virginia in the very recent past and abortion center licensure inspections report at least four complications during abortion procedures.



Another woman who testified is an employee at A Capital Women’s Health Clinic (an abortion center in Richmond). After she pleaded for the regulations to be repealed, Senator Garrett questioned her about the specific deficiencies found at her center and whether or not she believed those deficiencies constituted “safety and health” for women. The deficiencies included that the sponge used to clean instruments is only changed once per week, and 3 of 9 employees have access to controlled substances yet are not licensed by the Board of Pharmacy. The woman testifying did not provide sufficient explanations for the deficiencies but instead diverted to another portion of the bill in an attempt to distract from the truth – abortion facilities are not focused on the health and safety of women. Chris Freund testified for The Family Foundation, reporting the results of the Virginia abortion center inspections – bloody procedure tables, unsterilized and blood splattered equipment, untrained staff, and more – over 100 violations in just 20 abortion centers. A vote was eventually taken and the committee showed that it was not fooled by abortion industry; the repeal bill was defeated.

While we are disappointed by the failure of the committee to acknowledge the value of life and pass SB 826, The Family Foundation is encouraged by the common sense of the committee to block the repeal of the update to the informed consent law and abortion center safety regulations. The Family Foundation will continue to support life, no matter the worth others may place on that life. Again, please contact Senator Tom Garrett ([email protected]) and express your sincere thanks for his courage today.