By a straight, party-line vote (10-5), the Senate Education and Health Committee voted to "pass by indefinitely" House Bill 1440. That means that the bill will go no further this year, and will not be called for a vote by the full Senate.
This was completely expected. In fact, today was just another "Black Thursday," so named because every single year in recent history, this Committee kills all of the pro-life legislation that managed to make it through the House of Delegates.
Today, for instance, the Senate Education and Health Committee killed not only this bill on which I have been working, but also the much-needed abortion clinic safety bill, the bill that would prevent insurance plans in Virginia's health insurance exchange from providing abortion coverage, and the bill that would keep HPV vaccines for young girls from being considered "mandatory."
I was proud of Delegate Bob Marshall, the chief patron of my bill, as he introduced the legislation by making it absolutely clear that it should not have even been heard in the Ed & Health Committee, but rather in the Courts Committee! But this assignment was no mere oversight--it is part of a plan.
Despite Senate Rules requirements that each standing committee reflect the overall composition of the entire Senate (22 Democrats, 18 Republicans), this Committee is comprised of 10 Democrats and 5 Republicans. I'm no mathemetician, but those ratios don't pan out as far as I'm concerned.
Moreover, the 10 Democrats on the Committee are not just any Democrats; a review of their voting records reveals them as the most hardened pro-abortion legislators in the Senate.
My experience this year has convinced me that Virginians need to know that these games are being played by their government.
Am I discouraged? No. It has been an honor to do this work. I am inspired by William Wilberforce, who didn't just take a stab at ending slavery once or twice, but who devoted his career to it. Isn't this cause just as important?
Finally, the Weltys (always my encouragers in this endeavor), reminded me this morning of a passage from Ephesians:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:11-13)
Friends, we stood firm today.
If you want to know the truth about what I'm feeling tonight, it's simply this: relief for a break in the battle, satisfaction that we have done all we could do, gratitude for the privilege of carrying His banner, comfort in your prayers and support, hope in His sovereign plan, and confidence in His ultimate victory.
Thank you again for all of your prayers and encouragement.