On Tuesday, we saw just how loud the anti-choice contingent can be. In Virginia, some districts did declare their trust in and support for pro-choice leaders. However, it was two steps forward, but one giant step back as anti-choice candidates also won big in the Commonwealth.
But now the midterms are over and we’re turning our attention to the 2011 General Assembly session, which begins in January. It already promises to be a tough one. Delegate Richard Bell has pre-filed a bill to restrict first-term abortion providers; a bill we call TRAP – Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Officials in Manassas and Prince William County have also declared their anti-choice feelings in resolutions supporting AG Cuccinelli’s legal opinion saying Virginia can and should regulate abortion clinics differently from other outpatient surgical centers. These resolutions may not be legally binding, but anti-choice officials and groups are asking Governor McDonnell and the Virginia Board of Health to propose new regulations that could seriously restrict Virginia’s already limited access to abortion care. We will fight them all the way to make sure we maintain and expand access to reproductive health care, not move backward!
How do we do so? Well, that’s where you come in. We’re establishing a Legislative Rapid Response Team so officials will hear the pro-choice movement loud and clear every time something happens in the General Assembly. Rapid responders will learn of breaking news at the General Assembly and be the first to, well, respond with lightning fast emails and phone calls to legislators before votes, and they will write letters to editors, op-eds, blog posts and more to make sure the pro-choice community knows what is happening at the G.A. – moment by moment. We’ll need team members all across the Commonwealth, so sign up today!
It’s not just anti-choice officials who will make this next session interesting. Groups like the Family Foundation have vowed to continue their quest for anti-choice legislation, including pushing for TRAP and mandatory ultrasounds before abortion procedures, and making it even more difficult for low-income women to obtain abortions.
In addition to what is shaping up to be an intense General Assembly session, we will deal with redistricting and statewide races! Right now, the House of Delegates is anti-choice and our Senate is mixed-choice, so redistricting and statewide elections could have an impact on the pro/anti-choice makeup of the Assembly for the coming years.
It’s going to be a very busy 2011 and a lot is at stake. So stay aware and be a part of what’s going on in your district and in your General Assembly, and sign up for the Legislative Rapid Response Team!
[Thanks to our intern Brett for her work on this post.]