VSHL 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
December 23, 2013
Dear friends and fellow pro-life Virginians:
Here we are again in the special season of the year when we welcome Life! One precious child’s birth that changed the world for all time is the reason that so many of us light our homes and wrap those gifts for the ones we love.
Now, as we celebrate the gift of Life, it’s good to look back on 2013. It has been quite a year for the pro-life movement here in the Commonwealth. We have seen exciting events, like the first “Stand for Life” rally on the opening day of the 2013 General Assembly. This wonderful event was co-sponsored by VSHL and other pro-life Virginia organizations and drew a large crowd of peaceful, committed pro-life folks to bear witness to the pro-life convictions of so many all over the state. We look forward to an even bigger event at the upcoming 2014 Rally on January 8th. Please use the free registration link on the VSHL website to help us get an idea of projected numbers.
In early April during the veto session, as the General Assembly came to a close, VSHL worked hard to see passage of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendment that ensured that no Virginia taxpayer funds would be used to pay for abortions under the newly formed state health care exchanges. After some strategic and effective lobbying by the VSHL team, the amendment passed by one vote! A victory for human life and the taxpayers of Virginia!
The spring and summer months of 2013 saw VSHL focused on our future pro-life leaders. The Alex and Geline B. Williams Oratory Contest once again brought together high school scholars to present speeches in defense of life. The winner was Miss Monica Loesel from John Paul the Great High School, in Prince William County.
In July, 50 teens and several college students attended this year’s Camp Joshua in Staunton. The three day camp provides fun and friendship, and a list of well-known pro-life leaders to encourage and instruct our young pro-lifers! This new project of the VSHL Educational Fund, directed by Miss Megan McCrum, is proving to be a great success all around and we look forward to expanding next summer.
The November elections were a challenge to all pro-life Virginians. VSHL is very grateful that, thanks to the hard work of VSHLPAC, in particular Mrs. Holly Smith PAC Chair, the pro-life majority was returned to the House of Delegates. This will prove to be very important during the next few years as we face the harsh reality that the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General are all now held by pro-abortion individuals.
It will demand a vigilant role on the part of all of us to ensure that no new pro-abortion legislation gains ground. We count on our VSHL members to stay in touch with their legislators about these issues as they come up. Please check the VSHL website often next winter for updates, or like our Facebook page. Members will receive emails regularly, as well.
This year VSHL will continue to educate the public on the powerful information about the fact that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain as early as twenty weeks in the womb. Keep an eye on the fact sheets and other efforts we will be launching to spread that information to others. Hopefully, we will see the passage of a Virginia Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the near future!
New threats are also on the horizon from the new federal health care laws. Medical health care rationing and other direct threats to vulnerable life must be watched closely. VSHL is prepared to stay on top of these threats and educate the public about them.
New VSHL Chapters are still being formed throughout Virginia. If you want to know where the closest chapter is to your town, please contact the office. If there isn’t one near your community, perhaps you can help us start one!
Don’t forget that you can still help VSHL do even more to educate and lead on life issues by participating in this year’s Matching Fund. Every donation will make it easier to accomplish our shared goals.
In short, as Christmas draws near and the New Year starts again, let us all re-commit to be the voice for the voiceless and to give witness to the value of every innocent human life!
Merry Christmas! May this New Year be one of hope and joy for all of you!
Olivia Gans Turner, President