Thousands of Virginians rallied in Richmond this week in opposition to the extreme abortion legislation introduced in the state’s recent legislative session.
Sponsored by state Del. Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax), HB 2491 would have allowed abortion up until birth, eliminated informed consent, and permitted late-term abortions in outpatient clinics. The bill failed in committee, but was backed by Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, who publicly stated his support of infanticide in a recent radio interview. Tran’s proposal mirrored a similar law recently passed in New York.
In response, pro-life Virginians came together and rallied against this abortion extremism. Capitol police estimated 6,500 pro-life advocates stood together beneath the steps of the capitol building Wednesday.
Legislators were in caucus for veto day, but several left session to speak on the stairs of the capitol. Many more filed out during a break in session to show their support for an end to anti-life legislation.
House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) gave brief remarks in support of the pro-life movement. Sen. Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg) announced the Senate Republicans’ fight to reject a Northam amendment that would increase funds to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. He also commented on Northam’s recent radio interview in which he suggested a physician and parent could decide to end a child’s life after birth. “All would agree that a child that is born is off limits to the governor and everyone else,” Newman said.
Sen. William Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin) gave a personal account. When his wife’s doctor encouraged her to abort their daughter at 24.5 weeks gestation for maternal health reasons, the couple refused. Stanley’s wife delivered a little girl, Grace, who died soon after birth.
“My daughter was fully formed, fingers and toes…and let me tell you one thing that I witnessed, she fought for life,” Stanley said. “She fought for three and a half hours for life.”
“Our governor who lives in that mansion right over there told America that he believes that abortion is permitted up to and after birth,” Stanley said. “Nothing can be more horrendous than what he said.”
Compelling testimony by abortion survivor Melissa Ohden and activist speaker Ryan Bomberger drove home the personal accounts related to every life lost to abortion.
Ohden described the saline infusion abortion that failed to take her life at seven months’ gestation.
“A nurse willingly, courageously rushed me off to the NICU that day unwilling to just leave me there to die despite the demands to do so,” Ohden said. “My medical records actually indicate that I soaked in that toxic salt solution not for three days, but five…they believed that I would be expelled from the womb as a successful abortion otherwise known as a deceased child. Accidentally I was born alive.”
Bomberger, an avid proponent of adoption, shared his experience of surviving racial odds. “I’m always that one percent that’s used 100 percent of the time to justify abortion,” Bomberger said. “My birth mother experienced the horror and violence of rape but chose to be stronger than her circumstances. Courage shows us. Some of the best things in life are unplanned.”
Bomberger referenced the $3 million backing Northam received from Planned Parenthood during his campaign.
“Planned parenthood still daily celebrates their racist and eugenist founder Margaret Sanger, who bragged about her speech to the KKK in her own autobiography,” he said.
“Planned Parenthood kills more black lives in two weeks than the KKK killed in a century,” Bomberger said.
Abortion is the number one killer in the black community outnumbering the top 15 causes of death combined. Planned Parenthood alone kills 257 black lives every single day. They’re the very definition, by the way, of systemic racism. In our state, this beautiful state of VA, 16,042 of any hue have been aborted and that’s 16,042 lives too many. Pro-abortion Liberals want to increase abortion. ‘My body, my choice,’ they cry all the time.
There’s nothing courageous about killing innocent human life and slapping a label of reproductive freedom on it. It’s cowardice led by a $2 billion bully, that claims to “plan” parenthood. They don’t plan parenthood, they violently end parenthood and Gov. Northam and his pro-abortion cohorts want to expand that violence. And I would suggest that Virginia, pro-life Virginia says ‘no way.’ This isn’t New York, this is Virginia, where we actually fight for human dignity.
A 20-year resident of Virginia, Dawn Beutner traveled to the capitol alongside fellow members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia.
“We’re here to show the strong pro-life support of Virginia in opposition in particular to the radical legislation that has been proposed in the Virginia House and Congress, particularly this past legislative session,” Beutner said.
It is so radical and opposed to what 99 percent of Virginians would ever want for their people. The rest of the country cannot believe that we’re actually talking about infanticide as a legal option for anybody at anytime and a medical doctor (Northam) would have a question in his mind about what you can do with a newborn baby.
“My hope is that so many legislators that think this is not on people’s radar will realize there are a lot of Virginians who are really upset about this, very willing to be mobilized…that there is going to be pushback and they are going to hear from their constituents,” Beutner said.
Born and raised in Chesterfield County, Johnson practiced as a mother-infant nurse before deciding to stay home with her daughter.
“It’s completely heartbreaking that this is even a conversation that is happening. I think it really shows that we’re living in a time that life is not valued,” Johnson said. “And it seems that we’ve become a culture of death.”
“I’ve seen babies born at different stages, and they are people, they are tiny little people, and every life has its purpose.”
“I think that [Northam] should be stripped of his medical license, honestly,” Johnson said. “I would never take my child to somebody who doesn’t value the life of unborn babies … a physician that doesn’t value that life is not going to take care of my child. I don’t think that our governor deserves to be a governor and I certainly don’t think that he deserves to hold a medical license.”
“This is exploitation of women in their weakest moments,” Johnson said. “These women in crisis pregnancies, they’re being lied to. I’ve encountered women who think that these babies don’t feel pain, they don’t understand where the babies are developmentally and they think that things are done ‘compassionately.’ There is no compassion in this.”
Virginia is already facing a health care crisis; Johnson said she and her fellow nurses would not stand for abortion in their workplaces. “If this was made part of our job, we would walk,” she said.
The March for Life, The Family Foundation, Virginia Catholic Conference, and the Virginia Society for Human Life hosted the event. Many speakers closed with remarks on the civic responsibility of Virginians against a persistent, powerful pro-choice lobby.
“As the national March for Life has grown its grassroots advocacy in past years, we have looked to grow at the state level too, where so many important pro-life legislative battles are happening,” said Jeanne Mancini, March for Life president. “We are seeing the abortion [industry] lobby for extreme bills at the level of the state … The stakes are higher, and we think rallying the grassroots at the state level is critically important.”
All 40 seats in the Virginia State Senate are up for election in 2019, with the primary election on June 11 and the general election November 5.
“This general assembly right now is at a crossroads, in the House its 51-49, in the Senate its 21-19 Republicans, all for life,” Stanley said. “But this election, this November in every precinct that you come from, in every corner of the commonwealth, you can deliver the majorities that will make life permanent here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“It is up to you to energize to go out into your precincts to go out into your communities go out into your neighborhoods. And make sure that you have a pro-life candidate that you fight for that pro-life candidate and you make sure that pro-life candidate wins.”
“There is no greater cause,” Stanley said. “And there are those that sit in this white building and tell us that its not worth it. And they are the ones that need to hear from us that we will not stand for murder.”