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


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Pro-Life Bill, or a Pro-Lawyer Bill?

It appears that some of our professed pro-life friends in Richmond are selling out. They are ready to forfeit crucial, long-term goals of the pro-life movement in the interest of avoiding criticism from abortion supporters. This in the form of supporting Senator Stanley's ill-conceived SB674. Here's what you need to know:

Stanley Bill -SB674 (A Pro-Lawyer Bill)

• Establishes wrongful death cause of action for unborn child after 12 weeks by amending Virginia's existing wrongful death statute to include "a fetus."

• Limited to creating wrongful death cause of action; carries no potential to create foundation for future efforts to limit abortion.

• Does not establish life at conception or recognize the basic humanity of the unborn.

Marshall Bill - HB1 (A Pro-Life Bill)

• Establishes wrongful death cause of action for unborn child at all stages by recognizing that life begins at conception and that unborn children are human beings.

• Creates a general rule of construction that applies to all of Virginia law, thereby laying a strong foundation for every future pro-life effort, including efforts to limit abortion.

So what can we possibly do to confront this back-door effort to undermine our goals? PLENTY!

Please call or e-mail Senator Bill Stanley TODAY and say something like this: "Please withdraw SB 674 and support HB1 instead at crossover. SB 674 will interfere with important, long-term goals of the pro-life movement."

A phone call to (804) 698-7520 is best, and an e-mail to is second-best.

Thank you so much. If we get his phone ringing off the hook, it could absolutely save HB1.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Problem

I recently learned that Senator Bill Stanley, on the last possible day, filed Senate Bill 674. If it goes forward, SB 674 has the potential to doom our chances of getting HB1 passed.

Stanley's bill creates a civil cause of action for the wrongful death of a "fetus" by simply adding this term to the existing wrongful death law. Recall that the only immediate, practical effect of House Bill 1 is to allow parents to sue for the wrongful death of their unborn baby--but House Bill 1 creates this cause of action by explicitly recognizing that life begins at conception and that unborn children are human beings generally under Virginia law. With this critical language, House Bill 1 creates a strong foundation for future pro-life efforts that go far beyond creating a civil lawsuit. That language, of course, is the real philosophical impetus behind House Bill 1, the reason it is being attacked by the abortion lobby, and the reason it enjoys such galvanized support from the entire pro-life community in Virginia.

Last night I e-mailed Stanley and explained to him that his bill threatens to completely undermine our well-planned, hard-fought efforts at laying this important pro-life foundation in Virginia law. Many moderate Republican legislators who would otherwise support House Bill 1 are likely to choose SB 674 as a more “moderate” alternative. I asked Stanley to withdraw SB 674.

Senator Stanley professes to be a pro-life conservative, so I am hopeful that he will quickly understand that his new bill is BAD for the pro-life cause and agree to withdraw it. If so, we can join forces to effect the wrongful death cause of action AND a strongly pro-life Virginia Code that recognizes the basic humanity of the unborn generally.

And if he refuses? Please stand by, because in that case I will be calling upon each of you to contact Stanley's office and repeat my request that he withdraw the bill. It's time to move beyond "moderate" legislation and recognize, without flinching, the humanity of children in the womb.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Step Onto the Stage

"There was some dignity and much safety in the self-selected role of spectator, but, faced with some abominations, a man had no option but to step onto the stage."

--P.D. James, The Children of Men

In the name of "privacy," our laws permit strong human beings to kill weaker human beings. I ask you: is this the type of abomination that warrants "stepping onto the stage?"

I know that many of you will answer, "yes!" If you are one of these, please just stay tuned. Once HB1 is called up for committee hearings, we may need you to act in a very short timeframe--and all you have to do is make a call or send an e-mail. Thank you for caring, and for paying attention!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"It's All A Big Game."

I've been told, countless times, that I should understand that the world of politics is nothing more than "a big game." At times, I am tempted to believe this. There are many in positions of power in our Commonwealth who make their decisions not based solely on what is right, good, and just, but also based on how the decisions will be perceived by the public.

Of course, we can all understand and relate to this. Who, among us, is immune from the desire to be liked and admired? And for a public official, the continuation of his or her position is determined by how many voters "like" him or her.

But isn't it possible that a certain proportion of voters--particularly in this day and age--is just yearning for representatives with integrity? That we might be able to overlook a decision we may not agree with in the interest of standing behind one who follows the dictates of his or her conscience, or of faith?

I have been told that in this election year, some of the leaders of our Commonwealth may be reluctant to get behind HB1 because it may be perceived by others to suffer from the shortcomings of "personhood" initiatives in other states. This is a valid concern, but only until I offer the evidence of how HB1 differs from those other measures, and how the allegations of opponents are legally unfounded. At that point, it becomes an issue of integrity--of choosing to do what is right, good, and just, and standing against false accusations.

For now, the question is open: will Virginia's highest officials take a stand for Truth by throwing their weight in support of HB1? Or will they, instead, cower to their interests in self-preservation?

Is it all just a "big game?" I don't know, but I do know the one who declares the victor in the end. And self-preservation doesn't score well in his book.

Monday, January 9, 2012

And So It Begins...

The 2012 session of the General Assembly hasn't even started yet, and already House Bill 1 (yes! We are House Bill 1 this year!) is under attack. In fact, ours was the only bill specifically mentioned in a recent op-ed called "Planned Parenthood's Wish List." Their wish, of course, is that House Bill 1 not be considered.

To read my response to the attacks already being leveled, follow this link to my own op-ed, which was published in Sunday's edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch.