NRL News

2024 Virginia General Assembly Wrap-Up

by | Mar 11, 2024

By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life [VSHL)

The 2024 General Assembly was a clear example of the fact that elections have consequences. Having gained a slim majority in both Chambers, the new pro-abortion leadership showed their hand early on.

The first bill introduced was an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would allow unlimited abortion through all nine months and remove all remaining pro-life laws in the Commonwealth.  Although that effort was put on hold until 2025, there was no shortage of other pro-abortion bills.

A total of six different bills were introduced in the Senate and House of Delegates that will allow abortionists  to evade prosecution for breaking laws that protect preborn children and their mothers in other states. These bills would also prevent the Board of Medicine from taking action against an abortionist who breaks the law.  The effect will be to create a special class of treatment to abortionists that no other area of medical activity is afforded. These bills were combined and passed the GA handily on party lines and now await Governor Youngkin’s action. VSHL has asked the Governor to veto them and we expect that he will do so.

This was not a year when any pro-life bill would receive a fair hearing. The handful of bills introduced that would have offered reasonable protection to babies who survived an abortion, or would have prevented abortion based on sex or race, were defeated callously and quickly by the stacked House Committees that heard them.

A bill to ensure permanently that Virginia taxpayers were not obliged to pay for abortions beyond the Federal Hyde Amendment rules was rejected in the full House of Delegates. Despite the fact that 60% of Americans still strongly oppose the use of tax funds to pay for most abortions, the pro-abortion members of the House attempted to make a mockery of the patron’s effort to prevent the use of state funds from taxpayers to pay for more abortions in Virginia.

Despite the difficulties of this session, there were some positive moments. The biggest was the defeat of efforts by Assisted Suicide promoters to finally get a bill passed to allow it in Virginia. Virginia’s current law, developed by VSHL and passed years ago, prevents assisted suicide and protects vulnerable individuals and doctors from being manipulated to participate.

This issue is not over, though; the same  group that has pushed the passage of these bills in other states will definitely be back next year. They only need a few more votes to pass it in the House. That is why Virginians must stay alert.

Another good bill did pass and, although it won’t stop any abortions, it will provide much needed help to some pregnant women and their unborn babies. It awaits the governor’s signature now.

SB 603, McGuire, directs the Department of Criminal Justice Services, in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Department of Health, to convene a work group of relevant stakeholders to study and make recommendations related to prioritizing treatment for incarcerated women who are pregnant and in need of substance abuse treatment. The bill requires the work group to report its findings and recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions and the Senate Committee on Education and Health by November 1, 2024.

VSHL wishes to thank every GA member who voted to oppose the pro-abortion bills, and those who attempted to bring forward a positive pro-life bill against the backdrop of hostility from their fellows this year. Many thanks especially to Delegates Nick Freitas, Phil Scott, Timothy Griffin, and Eric Zehr, and Senator John McGuire.

The huge turnout for Virginia Pro-Life Day proves Virginians care deeply about the issue, and it was noticed by the Members of the General Assembly. Now we must keep that energy going.  Remember to send your members your thanks if they voted pro-life this year. If he/she voted pro-abortion, let them know how disappointed you are.  Our voices make a difference.

Categories: State Legislation