HIGHLAND SPRINGS, Va. — Pro-life activists have denounced the efforts of Vice President Kamala Harris and Democratic lawmakers in Virginia to make the state a “safe haven” for abortion, calling their views “extreme” and “out of touch.”
The vice president held a roundtable with state lawmakers on Saturday morning in the Richmond area, focusing on the issue of preserving abortion access in the Commonwealth.
Harris has also met with state legislators in other states as part of the overall effort of the Biden administration to respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade last month, which has resulted in several states passing greater restrictions on abortion or banning nearly all abortions.
Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, said in a statement emailed to The Christian Post on Friday that the Biden administration's stance on abortion is too extreme.
“There is little doubt that the extreme position of Vice President Harris and the Biden administration, promoting the taking of unborn life through the moment of conception for any reason at taxpayer expense will play well with the $1 billion abortion industry and those in the General Assembly who think we need more abortions, not fewer,” Cobb said.
“But that position is out of touch with every day Virginians who support common sense pro-life laws and who voted against that extreme view just last November,” she added, alluding to the election of pro-life Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia.
Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, told CP on Saturday that she believed the pro-choice leadership of the state Senate “have made it abundantly clear that they have no interest in having any kind of rational conversation about” abortion regulations.
“They simply want to maintain the status quo, which protects the abortion industry in Virginia,” said Turner, noting that “they have the votes in the Senate” to defeat any pro-life bills.
Turner told CP that she believed efforts to advance pro-life legislation in Virginia will not become more likely until after General Assembly elections next year.
“We have a goal. The goal will be to, as soon as possible, pass the strongest protective legislation possible, but that probably won’t be this year,” she said.
“The elections in 2023, which give us a chance to shift the balance of authority from pro-abortion individuals in the Senate and even adding more pro-lifers to the House, is the best shot we have at getting to a reality of passing true pro-life laws in 2024.”
During the vice president's roundtable, which was held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 666 headquarters near Richmond, the vice president and lawmakers in Virginia's General Assembly spoke about repealing limits on abortion.
State Senator Jenn McClellan gave the opening remarks, noting how in the past couple of years, Democrats in the General Assembly have repealed common practices in abortion clinics, such as requiring each woman to have an ultrasound.
McClellan described ultrasounds as “medically unnecessary restrictions” to abortion. However, abortion clinics use ultrasounds to determine the gestational age of a preborn baby and the type of abortion procedure that will be performed, as well as the fee the abortionist will charge the patient since fees increase daily during each trimester.
Because of this, McClellan touted Virginia as “the first state in the South to expand access to abortion care, even while other states were exacting bans.”
McClellan also talked about working with her colleagues in the General Assembly to get a state constitutional amendment passed that would codify abortion as a right in the Commonwealth.
During her remarks, Harris insisted that a person does not “have to abandon your faith or your beliefs to agree the government should not be making that decision for that woman.”
“It may not be something you choose to do, but let’s all agree when it comes to the most intimate decisions that a woman can make, intimate decisions about heart and home, she should be able to do that without the government telling her what to do,” the vice president said.
State Sen. L. Louise Lucas also championed Virginia as a “safe haven” for abortion, adding that “we’re going to fight like hell to make sure it stays that way.”
Also present for the roundtable was Democratic U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin who represents the Fourth Congressional District of Virginia and once served in the General Assembly.
McEachin declared his support for Congress codifying abortion into law, though he stopped short of the current call by some in his party to end the filibuster in order to do so, and preferred an amending of it instead.
“You don’t have to do away with the filibuster rule,” he said. “But the least we can do is say that the filibuster shall not apply when we’re talking about a person’s civil rights.”
When asked for comment about the roundtable, Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter directed CP to a statement Youngkin made last month regarding the overturning of Roe.
“I'm proud to be a pro-life governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life. The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions,” Youngkin said at the time.
“We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life.”
Youngkin also mentioned his intention to have state lawmakers, including Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant and Steve Newman and Delegates Kathy Byron and Margaret Ransone to “find areas where we can agree and chart the most successful path forward.”
“I've asked them to do the important work needed and be prepared to introduce legislation when the General Assembly returns in January,” the governor added.
Members of the press were allowed into the event but only for 25 minutes. No opportunity was given for questions.