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


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Speaking Truth to Power

So far, it appears that Governor McDonnell's political ambitions will prevent him from using his considerable influence to ensure that HB1 makes it through the Senate. One of the Governor's spokespersons recently told a reporter that the Governor has "significant" constitutional concerns about the bill. This is completely ludicrous, inasmuch as I happen to know that the Governor's office is very much aware that the identical language has been in place in Missouri since 1986 and has survived U.S. Supreme Court scrutiny in a landmark decision.

How will the Governor be held accountable for this deception and betrayal?

Even more concerning to me is the refusal of The Family Foundation of Virginia (no, that is not a typo) to take any leadership whatsoever in advocating for the bill. In fact, (are you sitting down?) for reasons that have not yet been made clear, The Family Foundation was instrumental in having an alternative bill introduced (see my earlier post on this). That bill, in the form supported by The Family Foundation, would have established a wrongful death cause of action for a "fetus," thus setting a dangerous precedent in Virginia's Code of "life-at-12-weeks," rather than "life-at-conception."

Because of the considerable efforts exerted by a number of grassroots pro-life organizations, several Senators were alerted to this problem with The Family Foundation's "alternative," and these Senators amended the language to ensure that the cause of action would apply throughout pregnancy. In that amended form, SB674 passed the Senate and is now in the House.

The Family Foundation's compromise bill says nothing about life at conception, nothing about the humanity or fundamental rights of an unborn child. And, unlike HB1, which would inform the interpretation of the entire Virginia Code, the language The Family Foundation has championed does NOTHING other than to amend one particular statute dealing with tort law.

And just as I predicted and advised The Family Foundation, this compromise bill itself has become a justification for letting HB1 die. This was the very argument made by the ACLU lobbyist at the hearing for HB1 in the House. Thankfully, we had enough support there to get the bill through anyway. But what will happen in the more problematic Senate?

What is behind this glaring sell-out by those who claim to be the voice of the pro-life movement in Virginia?

And where was The Family Foundation when the Rally for Life in Richmond was going on last week, mere steps from The Family Foundatin's posh new offices? While representatives of The Rutherford Institute, Liberty Council, Alliance Defense Fund, 40 Days for Life, Concerned Women of America, U.S. Senate Candidates Bob Marshall, Bishop Jackson and George Allen were all there to advocate for HB1, along with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli himself, The Family Foundation declined multiple invitations to participate or even be present.

How can one make sense of this?

I have said my piece to Governor McDonnell, and now I must speak to The Family Foundation of Virginia: WHERE ARE YOU? You have told those you purport to represent that you support HB1, while the truth is that you are working behind closed doors to defeat it. I pray that you will choose to fear God rather than men, and that your allegiance would be to Him rather than to any particular politician or party. Integrity matters to us, and it matters even more to Him.

To seek to claim "victory" over an impotent compromise bill at the expense of solid, far-reaching legislation like HB1 is like bulldozing the Sistene Chapel, erecting an outhouse in its place, and rejoicing about it. If you don't see that there is more at stake here than a notch in The Family Foundation's belt, then folks at home might as well send their donations to the Republican Party.

It's time to show some integrity. It's time to show the courage that befits one who serves the Lord of Hosts.

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