Category Archives: Abortion

Abortions in Virginia – Data for the Debate

Fetus – 15 weeks
Credit pregnancy

by James C. Sherlock

With all of the controversy, it is useful to know the facts of what has been happening with abortions in Virginia.

The Centers for Disease Control conducts abortion surveillance to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions and the number of abortion-related deaths in the United States.

The last CDC annual abortion surveillance report was for 2019.

It provides useful reference material inasmuch as several of its data tables are broken out by state. I have chosen four: number, age of mother, race/ethnicity and known weeks of gestation.

Three things of note:

  1. In Virginia, there were 160 abortions for every 1,000 live births.
  2. As a percentage of abortions, Virginia women have late-term (after 15 weeks) abortions at only about half the rate as women nationally. In Virginia, 2.5% occurred after 15 weeks of gestation — 0.6% after 20 weeks.
  3. As for race, it is instructive to see that abortion has not strayed far from its American eugenicist roots.  It was sterilization at the beginning.  Now it is abortion.  Black babies are still killed at a  disproportionately high rate. But strange differences today are:
    • Black executives now largely run Planned Parenthood; and
    • Much of the Black press and clergy have joined the hallelujah chorus in support of abortion.

Continue reading

Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center Targeted in June Attack

by Scott Dreyer

According to the Catholic New Agency’s “Tracker: Pro-abortion attacks in the U.S. continue,” there have been over 90 attacks on crisis pregnancy centers, churches, and other pro-life targets since May 2022. That was when the draft opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Mississippi Dobbs case was leaked to the public. To date, not one attacker or vandal involved in these hate crimes has been sent to jail for these acts.

The first attack after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the abortion issue to the states as had been the case until 1973 came on June 25, 2022, less than one day after the high court has issued its landmark decision. That first target was the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg. Continue reading

Twofers, Threefers

If this clump of cells has achieved “personhood” the legal implications are endless.

by Jim McCarthy

As time passes, it seems a safe bet to conclude that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson will be deemed an upheaval to American culture and politics greater than that of Brown v Board of Education. 

Dobbs may have unleashed a kraken-worthy pandemic of civic monsters to rival that of Greek mythology. The decision is drawing embryonic and heated demands for a national absolute ban on abortions based upon a theory of “life at conception,” or fetal personhood, that augurs to redefine and upend well-settled related public policy and laws. The tumult emerging from Dobbs will make the half-century precedent of Roe seem peaceful.

Thirteen states have already adopted laws to ban all or most abortions, with eight protecting the fetus from the moment of conception without conferring personhood. However, Louisiana is presently considering legislation requiring the state to “fully recognize the human personhood of an unborn child at all stages of development prior to birth from the moment of fertilization.” Life at conception is sufficiently close – theologically and legally – to fetal personhood as to be only finely distinguishable.

The Commonwealth’s political leadership, for the moment, appears not to be poised to mimic Louisiana, but Old Dominion advocates are not hiding their aspirations for a “no compromise” ban on abortion as the state’s rule. Continue reading

Virginia Jews and Their Differing Views on Abortion – Don’t Ask Public Radio

by James C. Sherlock

Another day, and more intentionally misleading headlines in Virginia. This one from Radio IQ, written by Sandy Hausman.

Jewish community leaders will fight attempts to restrict abortion in Virginia

From the text.

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, the only Jewish woman in the General Assembly, organized an online gathering to discuss her religion’s view of abortion and of efforts by Governor Youngkin and his political allies to further restrict access. (emphasis added.)

Falls Church Rabbi Amy Schwartzman said amen.

“It is truly an outrage that women are being stripped of their fundamental right to make essential healthcare decisions free of governmental interference. Pregnant individuals must be able to make ethical decisions based on their own beliefs and medical best interests without government officials imposing their personal religious views on others,” she asserted. “It is devastating to hear our governor has aligned himself with the court’s religious authoritarians in denying freedom of religion for not only the Jewish community but for all of those whose beliefs allow pregnant individuals their full rights.”  (emphasis added.)

Continue reading

The Abortion Hypocrisy of Glenn Youngkin

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Governor Youngkin recently told a forum organized by The Family Foundation that life begins at conception. I agree with that statement.

He went on to say that he wanted to “protect life.” However, he said that he would be willing to settle for a bill that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

According to the CDC, there were 15,582 abortions in Virginia in 2019, the latest year for which there is data. (If the abortion data is included on the Virginia Department of Health website, it is well hidden.) Of that number, only 90 (less than one percent) were performed after the 20th week of pregnancy. If life begins at conception, as the Governor says he believes, why aren’t those almost 15,500 lives that were aborted (killed) before the 21st week of pregnancy as valuable as the 90 lives that would have been spared under the Governor’s policy? Continue reading

Impact of Supremes’ Roe v. Wade Ruling Way Overstated

Photo credit: Netblogpro

by Ken Reid

Should Governor Glenn Youngkin succeed in getting the Virginia General Assembly to curb abortion in Virginia from 25 weeks of pregnancy (at present) to 15, some 97% of abortions will still be protected, according to 2019 stats from the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, in six of the eight states which had pre-Roe v. Wade abortion bans, which have now become law again, an overwhelming majority of abortions will continue because abortion drugs (like Mifeprex – generic, mifepristone) –- cannot be outlawed. The only state with a trigger law where only 39% of abortions would continue is Missouri, based on data from the CDC.

In two states, Ohio and Texas, which have enacted restrictions after six weeks of pregnancy, CDC data indicates abortion through Mifeprex could conceivably cover 62% and 80% of abortions in those states, respectively.

About 54% of all abortions in 2019 were by abortion drugs, not surgery. Not all 1st trimester abortions can be done via drug, but the numbers are increasing and I will explain shortly why the states can do little about it.

I covered the drug and device industry for the trade press for 35 years, so I have some expertise here. Since the Supreme Court overturn of Roe was leaked in early May, I have written several articles, including a letter in The Washington Post,  about how this decision is really a wash for both sides – but these facts have not entered the news cycle or TV punditry. You can read one of these articles here.

Here are my arguments: Continue reading

Prosecutors Who Won’t Do Their Jobs

by Kerry Dougherty

Two local prosecutors just earned an A in both Fearmongering 101 and Grandstanding 101.

Ramon Fatehi of Norfolk and Stephanie Morales of Portsmouth used the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe V Wade to summon the press and draw attention to, well, themselves.

The duo pronounced themselves “horrified” that the highest court would allow states to pass their own abortion laws — let’s give them each an F in Federalism 101 — and used the court decision to declare that they would not prosecute abortion crimes if the General Assembly passes new laws.

“Prosecuting those cases is directly contrary to my responsibility to keep people here in Norfolk safe and alive and I simply will not — I won’t allow the Republicans’ extremist agenda to put blood on my hands,” Fatehi told The Virginian-Pilot. “I will not aid and abet their endangering of people who are pregnant and who seek to end their pregnancies.”

Love the way this woke prosector used the idiotic “people who are pregnant” descriptor when he could have said “women.” Guess he’s seeking the men-can-have-babies vote in the next election. And his mention of keeping Norfolkians “alive” is rich in irony, given the topic. Continue reading

Virginia Law, Abortion, Expectant Mothers and Medical Professionals

by James C. Sherlock

To clarify for those who misunderstand or knowingly misrepresent the statements of Republican leaders in the General Assembly concerning a new law on abortion, a woman aborting her unborn child is not proposed to be the subject of legal sanctions.

The targets in the mainstream Republican proposals being developed for a new abortion law will be the licenses of those performing the procedure.

Under current Virginia state law, abortion is legal in the first and second trimesters, or up to 26 weeks of pregnancy. It is allowed in the third trimester only if the woman’s life or mental or physical health is in danger.

Governor Youngkin told The Washington Post he would like the cutoff to be 15 or 20 weeks. He told the Post that he would support exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.

He has asked state senators Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, and Steve Newman, R-Forest, and delegates Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg, and Margaret Ransone, R-Kinsale, to craft the legislation.

Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, MD is an Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist in Richmond. Senator Newman, R-Lynchburg, said in an interview with WTOP radio:

The state licensing process is most likely the best way to go about enforcement.

Indeed, it is the only politically viable way. Continue reading

Roe v Wade Is Gone

by Kerry Dougherty

I hate writing about abortion. Americans are not persuadable on the topic. Minds are made up.

But here is what I will say about Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade:

Any lawyer who understands the Constitution will privately admit that the 1973 decision was always on shaky ground. An over-reaching court — all men, by the way — grappled to find a Constitutional right to the procedure. So they invented one.

Even the left’s patron saint, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a strong supporter of abortion, once criticized the Roe ruling in a lecture she gave to New York University’s School of Law: Continue reading

Fairfax County and Protection of Supreme Court Justices Revisited

Courtesy of Fairfax County

by James C. Sherlock

In response to the adjacent exhortation by Fairfax County from its home page, I am speaking up.

Defend the homes of the Supreme Court Justices who live in your county.

I offer breaking news to many who only read and watch progressive media, including the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Justice Kavanaugh and his family were the targets of an assassination attempt at their home in Montgomery County early Wednesday morning.

Going out on a limb, that may portend a “gun tragedy” in Fairfax County. Though not solicited in the banner request, I also report that there may prove to be a person or persons holding such weapons.

I hope I have not gone too far.

Continue reading

Ideas Suffer the Casualty of Casualness

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano

by Jim McCarthy

Skilled polemicists and rhetoricians (perhaps even unskilled) can present material in a seemingly unbiased way even while intentionally distorting it. A recent Bacon’s Rebellion article bemoaned the assertion of Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano in a New York Times op-ed piece that he would “never prosecute a woman for having an abortion.” The blog item further placed in quotation marks, “no matter what the law in Virginia says.” Both quoted selections are, in fact, words from the op-ed.

We owe it to the iconic Paul Harvey to be on guard to hear the rest of the story.

The title of the original ep-ed column is, in itself, political pander, pure campaign bombast: “My Governor Can Pass Bad Abortion Laws, But I Won’t Enforce Them.” Any who accept that Virginia’s governor can pass an abortion law – good or bad – failed grade school civics. Don’t judge the content of an article by a headline that was likely written by the newspaper editor. As for the argument made by Descano, follow the Bacon’s Rebellion post’s hyperlink to the op-ed. There you will see the complete context of the statement:

…in Virginia today women who are suspected of terminating a pregnancy without the assistance of a certified medical professional can face felony charges if they miscarry.

So when the court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked earlier this month, I committed to never prosecute a woman for making her own health care decisions. That means that no matter what the law in Virginia says, I will not prosecute a woman for having an abortion, or for being suspected of inducing one.

In context, the full and complete CA statement presents a different import of the matter than that communicated to Bacon’s Rebellion readers. Continue reading

Commonwealth Attorney Nullification

Steve Descano. Photo credit: WTOP

Steve Descano has written an op-ed piece in The New York Times. Should the U.S. Supreme Court roll back Roe vs. Wade, says the Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney, he will never prosecute a woman for having an abortion — “no matter what the law in Virginia says.”

The CA provides several reasons for opposing blanket abortion laws, some of which I think are legitimate. He should use whatever political influence he has to ensure that draconian anti-abortion laws are never enacted in the Old Dominion.

But I do worry when elected prosecutors pick and choose the laws they enforce. Should the Commonwealth Attorney be allowed to nullify any law he dislikes for the one-in-eight Virginians who live in Fairfax County? If so, by what logic should not every Commonwealth Attorney be allowed the same prerogative? What if, to pick an equally controversial example, CAs in conservative rural counties refused to prosecute gun-control laws?

This is the path to anarchy.


Abortion, Black Women, and the Thirteenth Amendment

by Paul Goldman

I write today to put the abortion debate in its proper Virginia political, social, and legal contexts.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution banned not only slavery but also “involuntary servitude.” “While the general spirit of the phrase ‘involuntary servitude’ is easily comprehended, the exact range of conditions it prohibits is harder to define,” declared the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Kozminski. The decision in United States v. Shackney said the ban on involuntary servitude “was to abolish all practices … having some of the incidents of slavery.” One of those practices, I will argue in this column, was depriving enslaved women the right to end unwanted pregnancies.

Given sympathetic comments by the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority to antiabortion efforts in recent litigation, the nation’s top constitutional scholars say the Court intends to use the Mississippi case argued earlier this year to give state legislature’s wide new latitude to restrict “the right to choose” established by Roe v Wade nearly fifty years ago. The intentions of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin and his allies, including Democratic Senator Joe Morrissey, remain to be seen. But it is difficult to imagine that the publicly proclaimed foes of abortion will miss this opportunity.

I believe that Governor Ralph Northam and the White Boys Club now running the General Assembly have a moral obligation to call a Special Session to stop such an effort. Continue reading

Why Northam Is Such An Important Governor

By Peter Galuszka

This is a bit like throwing chum at a school of sharks, but here is my latest in Style Weekly.

I wrote an assessment of Gov. Ralph Northam that is overall, quite positive. My take goes against much of the sentiment of other contributors on this blog.

They are entitled to their views but, to be honest, I find some of the essays shrill and not really fact based. If Northam wants to delay elective surgeries at hospitals for a week or so, some want to empanel a grand jury.

An acute care health facility in Henrico County becomes one of the most notorious hot spots for coronavirus deaths and it is immediately Northam’s fault even though the care center has had serious problems that long predated the governor’s term in office.

He’s a trained physician who served as an Army doctor in combat during the Iraq War yet he is vilified as being incompetent and incapable of understanding the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s like the constant repetition of the “Sins of Hillary” on Breitbart and Fox News about emails and Benghazi.

Like him or not, Northam is bound to be one of the most consequential governors in Virginia history given the gigantic problem of the pandemic. He’s not a showboat salesman like Terry McAuliffe nor a smarmy, small-time crook like Robert F. McDonnell.

Anyway, here’s the piece.

End Parental Discrimination in Surrogacy Cases

by Jay Timmons

Residents in the Richmond area are represented by three Republicans in the state Senate with very different views of Life and Family. All three will be on the ballot Tuesday.

When it counted, Siobhan Dunnavant stood strong for children and the unborn. But sadly, Glen Sturtevant and Amanda Chase chose discrimination and bigotry over Life. Sturtevant and Chase acted as charlatans who sent a very clear message with their votes that our son did not even have the right to exist.

The bill, HB1979, which Dunnavant supported and Sturtevant and Chase callously voted against, is also known as “Jacob’s Law,” and was inspired by my son and the horrific four-year legal battle that my husband Rick and I endured in an out-of-state court. The bill was simple – eliminate discrimination in Virginia’s parental rights laws for children born through surrogacy so that all intended parents are treated equally. The bill brought laws on surrogacy in line with those that existed for adoption in Virginia. Most importantly, the bill – which is now law thanks to bipartisan support – means more frozen embryos can be rescued and saved from potential destruction. Continue reading