My reflections and musings on the struggle to leave a Christ-shaped impression on the world of law and public policy.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Day in Richmond--It's Worth The Effort

I am planning to travel to Richmond tomorrow to make what some consider a futile attempt to persuade a few more legislators to either support the bill or refer it to another committee.

Here's some important background:

The Senate Education and Health Committee is commonly referred to as "The Committee of Death." Why? Because this Committee systematically defeats every single piece of pro-life legislation before it can even get to the floor for a vote. It is comprised in such a way that it is almost a foregone conclusion that any pro-life bill assigned to it is dead on arrival. And under the Senate rules, any bill that relates to abortion is assigned to this Committee.

But the thing is, our bill really doesn't belong in the Senate Education & Health Committee to begin with, because it is not an "abortion" bill. The word "abortion" is not even in the bill. Instead, this bill is, in legal terminology, a "rule of construction." It informs the interpretation of other Virginia laws. For instance, it requires the word "person" in Virginia's wrongful death statute (and elsewhere) to include unborn children. This way (in contexts other than abortion), if the negligence of a third party (a drunk driver, for instance) causes an unborn child to die, the parent can sue that person for "wrongful death" just as if a newborn had been killed.

So the bill really has nothing to do with "education" or with "health." It belongs in the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice or for General Laws because it involves the interpretation of other laws and the creation of a type of lawsuit. This is why, on the House of Delegates side, the bill is being heard in the Courts of Justice Committee.

My trip to Richmond tomorrow is for the purpose of urging key members of the Senate Ed & Health Committee to move to refer the bill to another committee, where it would likely receive a more favorable hearing.

Please pray that (1) I am able to meet with these key players tomorrow, and that (2) their hearts would be moved to do what is right.

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