Battle Over Abortion in Virginia: Radical Pro-Abortion Democrats vs. Moderately Pro-life Republicans

The legislature of the state of Virginia is deadlocked on the question of abortion, with a slim majority of Democrats in the Senate pushing for abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and an even smaller majority of Republicans in the House blocking them and countering with moderate restrictions on the killing of children.

At the end of February, Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates blocked an effort by Democrats to put a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot that would create a state right to kill children at any point before birth.

Earlier in the month, Democrats in the Senate killed three moderate “pro-life” bills. Republicans in the House of Delegates passed a bill that would have protected children born alive after an abortion, another bill that would have required informed consent prior to an abortion, and a bill to promote a government website making pregnancy resources available to women across the states. Democrats in the Senate Education and Health Committee tabled the born alive infant protection act, HB 1795, indefinitely by a straight party line vote. The same committee also blocked the informed consent bill, HB 2270. The last pro-life bill, creating a website for women to access pregnancy resources, HB 2476 was also blocked on a party line vote by Democrat.

The contrast between Virginia Republicans and Democrats is one that Republican pro-lifers and Democrat pro-abortion activists have been promoting across the United States.

On the one hand, Republicans in swing states are advocating the most minuscule of restrictions such as born alive infant protection laws. On the other hand, Democrats in these same swing states are pushing for abortion on demand and a complete dehumanization of the preborn child.

The difference in their strategy is a result of the fact that radical Democrats control the media and therefore the most complete expression of their abortion ideology, that the child in the womb is not worthy of any rights or any consideration whatsoever, can be advanced with little fear of being held accountable. Meanwhile, Republican pro-lifers have to weather severe storms of media criticism for even the mildest of pro-life positions.

In no state is this more evident than in Virginia, a state that is politically evenly divided, but where one party finds it politically beneficial to take radical pro-abortion positions, while the other takes the most moderate of pro-life positions in a desperate attempt to highlight the radical nature of the opposition.

The result has been a political stalemate.

Some pro-lifers are not happy with a simple stalemate for pro-lifers, given the fact that the state elected a republican governor and a Republican house. They point to the fact that Democrats always advance policy objectives that reflect their political ideology, while Republicans at best, play defense. If even the most moderate of pro-life bills are going to die in committee in one of the chambers, why not advocate for the bills that actually reflect the views of the legislators and the voters?

Virginia currently allows abortion through the second trimester; that means a viable child of 26 weeks can be killed in Virginia with no restriction and even later if the abortionist alleges the abortion was committed for reasons of health.

Proponents of the personhood of the preborn are frustrated that after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the legislature in Virginia has not able to achieve any significant gains, and they point to the fact that Republicans themselves have been unwilling to put forward not just a defensive case against Democrats, but a positive case for why the right to life of the preborn must be defended proactively.

In the end, Virginia Republicans and mainstream pro-life activists are reading the polls and are aware of the strong media bias that would whip up public opinion against any perceived pro-life gains. While this combination of pro-abortion media bias and Republican fear of the pro-life cause persists, the best pro-lifers in Virginia can hope for from the state capitol is a continuation of de facto if not constitutionally mandated abortion on demand.

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