For the first time in more than 25 years, Democrats took total control of the Virginia government, winning the House of Delegates, the Senate and the Governorship in the 2019 election.
Their wins gave them free reign to pass a boatload of legislation negatively affecting pre-born infants, religious freedom, and families. Here are some of those bills, which now go to Governor Northam for signing:
- Abortion: The legislature passed companion bills HB 980 and SB 733, eliminating health and safety requirements for abortion clinics. The legislation allows nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physicians assistants – none of whom are licensed physicians – to perform abortions. They also stripped “informed consent” requirements for women seeking abortion. These include, as The Family Foundation of Virginia writes, explaining the “development of their unborn children as well as the different types of abortions and the risks associated with each.” The Family Foundation (TFF) is a Family Policy Council affiliated with Focus on the Family.
- Decriminalizing marijuana: The legislature passed SB 2and SB 815, removing jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana. As TFF notes, this essentially legalizes marijuana for recreational use in the state. They write, “We’ve seen the damage this drug does to individuals, families, and communities in places where they’ve legalized it – whether in Colorado, Washington, or Washington D.C., and it’s clear that it’s a truly destructive force.” The group pointed to resources documenting the harms.
- Banning therapy for minors with unwanted homosexuality and transgenderism: As TFF warned constituents, “HB 386 and SB 245 prohibit counselors from counseling minors in a way that would encourage them toward their biological sex.” The bill negates parent’s rights. For example, it prohibits them from finding a therapist to help a daughter struggling with gender confusion or a teen son who wants help to stop viewing gay pornography.
- Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI): The General Assembly voted in favor of SB 868, adding SOGI to state non-discrimination laws in public accommodations, employment, credit, and housing. SOGI laws give sexual behaviors and identities the same protected status as religious freedom, free speech and parental rights. Pressure from groups like our Focus-affiliated Family Policy Council, TFF, brought admissions from Democrats that they were targeting churches and people of faith, and the legislation was amended to offer some limited protections. The legislation provides no defense for Christian business owners who don’t want to provide services for same-sex wedding ceremonies. Nor did the legislature offer protections for women and children when men who identify as women enter their locker rooms, dressing rooms, showers and restrooms.
Thankfully, TFF was successful in helping to defeat legislation that would have been detrimental to life and freedom. One measure would have legalized physician-assisted suicide. The bill was continued to 2021 and was not voted on this year. Two bills creating a “fundamental right to abortion” also failed, one was withdrawn by the sponsor and the other was continued to the next legislative session.
Five measures “sought to require that everything from contraception, to IUDs, to counseling for abortion, to the abortion procedure itself is paid for through insurance or Medicaid,” TFF reported. All but one, legislation requiring insurance policies to cover infertility treatments, failed this year.
Virginia’s leftward lurch is a stark reminder that elections have consequences, and Christians must remain engaged in culture and policy issues. In November 2019, only two Senate seats and six House seats flipped from Republican to Democrat in the Virginia General Assembly, giving a Democrat majority that wasted no time in pursuing its agenda.
Surveying those dismaying election results, TFF President Victoria Cobb wrote that she was frustrated, but proud of the election work from TFF staff and volunteers. She also said she remained encouraged and hopeful.
She reminded Virginians: “It can be tempting to walk away from the battle after suffering a defeat, but now more than ever we need you to stand with us against the darkness that is about to descend over our Commonwealth. I urge you to remain committed to the work of bringing Godly, founding principles to our culture, and to help us do everything we can to reignite a movement of teaching these principles to the next generation who will soon inherit the fallout of these destructive policies.”
That’s a call to action for all of us who care about life, freedom, family,
More articles and resources:
Learn more about the issues and register to vote at The Daily Citizen’s Election 2020 Page
Find out more about The Family Foundation.
Connect with a Family Policy Council in your state.