The week before “crossover “ at the General Assembly (the last day for bills to be heard in the House or the Senate before they cross over to the opposite chamber) is always busy as many committees in both the House of Delegates and Senate push to wrap up business. This is a short legislative session, so the pressure has been on since opening day three weeks ago. And it never lets up!
Both sides were allowed time to speak to the bills and VSHL was among those that spoke against them.
Most important, all three were defeated and that is reason to cheer. The current pro-life majority, although very slim, made sure that Virginia’s reasonable and protective laws were not in danger of being overturned. That’s very good news for the women of Virginia and their precious unborn children.
The bills in question would have stripped women of much needed protections before obtaining an abortion in the Commonwealth. One could have required that abortion drugs such as RU-486 be [mis]recognized as a form of birth control!
One bill mirrors the recently enacted radical New York law. It would have removed all protections in the second and third trimester of pregnancy that currently exist under Virginia law.
HB 1863 (Delegate Debra Rodman) would have repealed Virginia’s Informed consent law and the requirement that an ultrasound be performed before an abortion. This law has been saving lives and helps bring down the number of abortions in Virginia every year. The subcommittee voted on party lines, 5 -3, to defeat it.
HB 2491 (Delegate Kathy Tran) was a bill that was also very similar to the heinous bill that just passed in New York last week and signed into law by their pro-abortion governor. This bill would have removed all provisions under Virginia Code in the later stages of pregnancy that determine when or how an abortion can occur. That includes written informed consent, an ultrasound, and the need for a second opinion if the abortion may be done on the grounds of imminent death or impairment.
Under questioning from Del. Todd Gilbert, Chair of the subcommittee, Del. Tran admitted that under her bill a woman could obtain an abortion right up to birth if she claimed a mental health risk, which is loosely defined under Virginia law. You can see video of this chilling exchange here.
This hearing is more proof that we must make sure that the November 2019 elections do not bring about a pro-abortion majority in the General Assembly which would mean all these sorts of bills will pass and become law! Gov. Ralph Northam has promised to sign all of them!
There have been some reports that the ERA is dead for this year in the General Assembly. That is not true!
It is true that a subcommittee of the House Committee on Privileges and Elections did vote to “Pass by” indefinitely the Senate version and four House versions of the ERA bills. However, this does not mean we are out of the woods!
The rules of the House of Delegates allow for any Delegate to attempt to “discharge” the ruling of the Committee and ask for a vote on the floor of the House. While we expect that all of the ERA bills in the House will be struck, we do think that the Senate version could be handled differently by pro-abortion members of the House. They might try a challenge any day now. They are still applying a lot of pressure on members of the House of Delegates!
So, what do we do now? We keep calling our Delegates to ask them to stay firmly in opposition to the ERA, and make sure our friends and families do as well. Everyone should contact Speaker Kirk Cox and thank him for his efforts to prevent the pro-abortion ERA from becoming law in Virginia. Please be courteous when you call or write.
As we go forward, we must keep educating our friends about what is at stake. You can contact VSHL office in Richmond if you’d like to arrange for a speaker at your church or group. There is a lot to learn for many of us about the ERA and other new threats to pro-life action in Virginia. We have a page on our website dedicated to the ERA.
LifeNews Note: Olivia Gans is the director of the Virginia Society for Human Life.