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
Virginia Society for Human Life
6767 Forest Hill Ave., Suite 270 * Richmond, VA 23225
Tel: 804.560.8745 ** www.vshl.org ** [email protected]
Thoughts on the 2012 elections
I know just how you feel today! It hurts! It makes us angry. It is profoundly bewildering. Still, it is the American way.
We gave our best efforts to persuade our fellow Virginians to vote pro-life in order to protect and save innocent babies lives and to protect all vulnerable innocent life from health care rationing and euthanasia under Obama Care!
There will be an official statement from VSHL soon today. Please use that statement with your chapter and local press, including blogs and Facebook connections.
Many of you braved rebuke and cold weather the last two months to help VSHL PAC try to get out the pro-life vote at locations, including churches and rallies across Virginia. Thank you for your willingness to get out the facts of "life”. I believe distributing those pro-life voter guides proved very importantly in influencing how close the final vote was in Virginia.
There is good new! We have saved all eight of our Virginia pro-life Congressmen! Wttman, Rigell, Forbes, Hurt, Goodlatte, Cantor, Griffith, and Wolf
Also, many counties around Virginia went for Romney/Ryan that have been traditionally Democrat, including most of southwestern Virginia! Kudos to our friends there who distributed thousands of NRLC comparison pieces all over that region.
VSHL PAC in worked closely with our County leaders and w/ National Right to Life to educate on radio and by telephone. Every action spread the facts and we reach more voters than ever bore.
A final thought!
If your Congressman was one of those that VSHL PAC endorsed and who won re-election, please send a note of congratulations to him As soon as possible! Our good men in Washington will need to know we have their backs! Theirs will be a tough fight ahead, particularly on pro-life matters in Congress!
Now we in Virginia at VSHL must stand up and get ready for the next go around! We must continue to lead for Life. Next up, the Virginia General Assembly starts in January.
So for this moment, hold your loved ones close and give thanks for what we all have, the gift of life!
God bless you all,
Olivia Gans Turner
Looking Forward for Life!
On January 11 the Virginia General Assembly started their 2012 session. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the members in both the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates as they begin the important work of the Session. Welcome in particular to all the newly elected members in both houses, many of whom are pro-life.
VSHL is very hopeful that during this year’s session we will see pro-life legislation proceed through the General Assembly. We are looking forward to working closely with our representatives at the GA to successfully pass the most protective legislation possible for the unborn, those with disabilities, and the dependent elderly.
There will be a number of bills that will draw our attention and support, including bills that will seek to ban deadly embryonic stem cell research in Virginia. Also on that list to watch is a bill to expand access to information for women before an abortion, including the chance to view an ultra-sound image of their own child.
The number one priority of VSHL will be to see the passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This important bill, which also enjoys the support of the Family Foundation and the Virginia Catholic Conference, will, if passed, ban all abortion after the point in the pregnancy when the unborn child can feel pain. This is a powerful new law that has already passed in 5 states, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Alabama. It is our hope that Virginia will become number six! Your help and support will make that happen.
Let me encourage all of you to send a message to your representatives this week, welcoming them back to Richmond and also asking for their support for important and reasonable pro-life legislation, like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. They have a chance to do the right thing and provide true protection for the unborn and other innocent human life this year and we are counting on them to do it well.
Please continue to come to the VSHL website for more information about this powerful new bill, further updates and a link to the Virginia General Assembly to find your Delegate and Senator.
Don't forget to sign our online petition to support this life-saving bill at www.vshlpetition.org. Please share this with your friends and family too!
Thank you for all you do to help VSHL spread the Pro-life message.
Olivia L. Gans, President
abortion | Q&A with Virginia Society of Human Life president about clinic regulations, women and abortion | by Alicia Constant
Originally published in World Magazine at http://www.worldmag.com/virginia/18262
On Jul. 1, the Virginia Board of Health will start outlining new regulations for abortion clinics passed in the last legislative session. WORLD Virginia spoke with Olivia Gans, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, about the next step for the pro-life movement in Virginia and how to reach out to women who have had an abortion. | |
WORLD Virginia: Pro-lifers celebrated the passage of abortion clinic regulations in the last legislative session, but the regulations haven’t been outlined. What kinds of regulations are you hoping for?
Gans: Not only is it important to require abortion clinics to alter their physical capacities; it's very important that we have strict regulations about reporting any complications that occur to the women, any violations....The only way to actually follow up on these regulations is to force the clinics to self-report and have officials actively reporting. If that does not take place, [violations] can slip under the wire and we won't know what's going on.
| | W: How effective do you think these regulations will be?
Gans: It’s only part of the puzzle.... Pro-lifers need to go into the discussion of the regulations eyes wide open, with a real awareness that Planned Parenthood has proved in other places that they are willing to stay in business. It will not mean that the regulations are unimportant, but they should be seen as a beginning point for a much larger conversation about protecting the unborn child.
W: What is the next challenge Virginia pro-lifers will face?
Gans: Right now, the single most important thing is this fall’s Senate elections. The pro-abortion majority in the Virginia Senate has been primarily holding up all major pro-life legislation for the past six years or more. We have to change the face of the Senate to reflect the pro-life view of the commonwealth of Virginia.
W: What is the Virginia Society for Human Life’s role in all this?
Gans: The VSHL is the nation’s oldest pro-life organization. Our history goes back to 1967, before Roe v. Wade.... During a legislative session, we have a team of 2-3 individuals who are almost daily down at the General Assembly communicating, lobbying, giving our pro-life members information, reaching out to members who might be on the fence and monitoring bills. Things change very quickly in Richmond during the legislative session. We may or may not support every pro-life bill that is put forward because we look at what kind of effort has the greatest chance of success in this session.
W: And I assume in the last session that was the abortion clinic regulations?
Gans: Actually, that was not the initial priority for us. The legislation we’re usually more keenly interested in pursuing very specifically works to protect the unborn child. We’ve started talking to legislators about passing legislation that says no abortion can be performed after a baby can feel pain. Similar legislation has already been passed in Nebraska, Kansas, Alabama and Oklahoma. That’s extraordinarily powerful because we’ve measured that the child can feel pain from 20 weeks. It may be only a matter of time, many scientists believe, until we learn more about the experience of pain for unborn children in the womb at even younger ages.
W: How did you get involved in the pro-life cause?
Gans: Very simply, I am the mother of an aborted child. Soon after I had the abortion, I went through acute post-abortion syndrome reaction. That's very rare. Most women take years before they start to struggle through the emotional difficulties of an abortion. I came to Washington, D.C., after helping to found the first women’s peer-to-peer post-abortion support group, Women Exploited by Abortion. We discovered that the pro-life movement was very compassionate, creating a safe place for us to heal and give voice to our stories. That led me to work at the National Right to Life Committee in 1985, and I’m still working for NRLC as director of another project called American Victims of Abortion. About two and a half years ago, I was asked to run for president of VSHL. The pro-life movement is famous for using all the talents of its members, even those you didn’t know you had!
W: What finally convinced you that a fetus was a human life?
It wasn’t very long after I experienced abortion that I saw the pictures of the unborn child and thought very honestly in my own heart about what had happened. I became very solidly aware that this is not something but someone, my own child, that had died. It was not in the abstract for me. It was very immediate and very intimate.
W: Many people in the pro-life movement consider themselves Christians. What role do your beliefs play in your pro-life view?
The interesting thing about my commitment to the pro-life movement is that I see the issue as the ultimate human rights question. I’ve worked with people who aren’t participating in any Judeo-Christian, or any faith. Yet they’re able to see abortion as a human rights issue. The natural law, the biological reality, is that at the moment of fertilization there is a new, unique human being, separate from their mother or their father. The initiative to have their rights protected under the law, if for no other reason, is to safeguard our rights.
There’s no doubt in my mind I came back to a place of sanity and stability in my life because of the peace that I discovered when I returned to my faith. But it is not essentially why I do what I do, and it might sound shocking to say that. Within the natural law I can see the glory of God, because, actually, that is going to help us draw other people to this truth. I do this because it is right.
W: Having been there, what would you say is the most important thing to do to reach out to women who have had abortions?
Gans: Just listen. You’ve been given a great gift if someone entrusts you, even if they do it angrily, with their life story. As the Christian and pro-life friend or member of the family, you want to make sure you say, “I hope the people that I love know that I love them beyond any sadness that they’ve experienced and that I’m always here just to listen.”
Rather than say, “Well, you’ve done something wrong,” first hear my story. You can tell them the truth that abortion is a tragic event that does involve the death of a child, and that you recognize that’s left them with questions. And you can guide people to a post-abortion counseling program, a church, a pastor who has an open heart or a Christian therapist. You can begin to get people closer to the help they’re going to need if you prove you’re willing to hear our pain.
W: Anything else you’d like to add?
Gans: Yes, I’d like to encourage people to go to the National Right to Life website (nrlc.org) and the website for VSHL (vshl.org). It’s important for them to get involved, if only to get on the email list. In Virginia we desperately need more talent, people who are good writers, artists, people who want to learn to be speakers or do computer work. This is probably one of the most exciting things you could ever do because your efforts will be used to promote human life in Virginia.
Copyright © 2011 WORLD Magazine
Articles may not be reproduced without permission
Published June 27, 2011
September 27, 2010
Fall colors slowly making the scene across Virginia remind all of us that the year is winding down, and yet this is no time to sit back and watch the leaves fall! There is so much important work to be done by Pro-lifers right now! Schools are back in session, Fall fairs and festivals are taking place, and elections are just around the corner. There is something critical for everyone to do right now to help save innocent human lives in our great Commonwealth! Are you prepared to do your part?
This is the perfect time to consider arranging for a pro-life presentation at your child's school or church youth group. VSHL Education Fund has wonderful trained speakers available to present the vital facts of unborn human life to groups of any age or size. If you need help to set something up please contact our Richmond office.
Perhaps you yourself are interested in becoming a better pro-life speaker. It is up to all of us to be prepared to be the voices and the faces of those that cannot speak for them selves. VSHL will be setting up traing days after the fall elections for those who are interested. It's not really hard to become a voice for the unborn or the disabled when you learn the facts and understand the arguments.
Even though the Virginia General Assembly will not be in session until January 2011, it's still the perfect time to get to know your local Delegate or State Senator. You should know who they are and how to contact their local office now so that you will be able to help VSHL communicate on vital life matters as they arise during this year's General Assembly. Information to help guide you about the VA General Assembly and local representative's links can be found on this site.
Perhaps the most exciting thing happening across Virginia this fall is the new VSHL chapter organizing efforts going on. In several place from Northern Virginia to Southwestern VA people are connecting and helping VSHL create a more active presence in several counties. The result of these efforts will help VSHL broaden our ability to spread the pro-life message throughout the Commonwealth.
New Chapters are forming in the Abingdon, Radford/Christiansburg, Fairfax and Prince William County areas. Does your county or city have a VSHL Chapter? Would you be interested in helping to establish one? Please contact the Richmond VSHL office to find out how.
Lastly, the fall elections are coming! Do you know where the candidates for Congress stand on Life? VSHL PAC will be working hard to help see that a majority of the Virginia delegation to Congress is Pro-life this November. You can help by talking to your family and friends about the importance of voting Pro-life. Check here and on the VSHLPAC website, www.vshlpac.org, for updates on candidates positions and flyers that you can download to share with your community!
There is no time like the present to make a difference for life! If you are a member, thank you! If you are not yet, then please consider joining VSHL today. Every voice matters in the fight to protect innocent human life!
June 17, 2010
Dear Pro-Life Friends:
On Sunday Americans recognize the critical and truly wonderful thing that a father is! The strength and support that children discover through the love of a father is essential to a child’s life. We, in America, are grateful to have this day each year to thank those fathers that have made so many loving sacrifices to support their children. From the very beginning of a child’s life fathers can make a difference for their little ones.
Some have even bravely supported decisions with the mother of their child to opt for adoption for their baby. Sometimes, adoption is the wisest thing a dad can do for his baby! Pro-life people know that fathers are a vital part of the work to save lives.
Sadly, the current laws on abortion prevent fathers from protecting their unborn children from abortion. Even married men are denied the power to prevent an abortion. A father‘s role is to protect and in America today that role is rejected by the abortion industry.
Another tragic outcome of this cruel reality are the many fathers that will silently this Sunday remember babies they never got a chance to hold because of abortion. They need to be kept in our thoughts as well. Together, let’s tell the fathers in our lives thank you this Sunday.
All fathers need our help and prayers to encourage them to stand up for their children no matter what. This Father’s Day, please consider making a donation to the work of the Virginia Society for Human Life on behalf of your dad or a father you love. We are working hard to strength the right to life in Virginia.
We also know that every unborn baby has a Mom and a Dad that needs our respect and love! God bless all our Dads!
Olivia L. Gans, President
Virginia Society for Human Life
What an amazing fall pro-lifers had here in Virginia! Victories all across the Commonwealth by pro-life candidates. Most impressive was the landslide victory of our new pro-life Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli! There is so much to be grateful for and so many reasons to hope for real possibilities for pro-life legislation in Virginia over the four years ahead.
There will be struggles ahead for while there is a pro-life majority in the House of Delegates, the pro-abortion majority in the Virginia Senate will make serious progress much harder for the next two years. Yet we will not put aside our responsibilities to fight for the right to life for every Virginian.
This year we expect to see several bill and budget amendment put forward that will be of real importance to pro-life people in the Commonwealth. Among them are efforts to prevent the use of Virginia tax funds to pay for abortions. Another bill of interest is from Del Kathy Byron( R. Lynchburg) and should get all of our attention and support. Her Bill expands the current informed consent law to allow women the chance to view an ultra-sound image of their unborn baby before having an abortion,
A very similar bill passed into law in Nebraska last year and is currently helping women there make better life saving decisions for them selves and their babies.
There maybe other bills that we will want you to be watching, including efforts to deny life saving medical treatment from vulnerable patients and efforts to defund planned parenthood in Virginia. All of these bills will be monitored and reported on here on the VSHL website. Please sign up to receive important email alerts as the session goes forward.
Virginia has a very short General Session each winter so it is important that concerned pro-life Virginians stay on top of what's going on at the General Assembly in Richmond!
Virginians also have a vital role to play in National pro-life issues, particularly regarding the national debate on health care. Please contact your member of Congress and Senators Webb and Warner to tell them how you feel. Please let them know that you do not want any Federal funds of any kind used to finance abortion in any national plan. Also let them know that you object to penalties on Medicare doctors that provide their patients with needed life saving medical treatment.
For all the information you will need to follow this part of the debate please check out www.nrlc.org the website of the National Right to Life Committee.
As we remember this week the anniversary of the saddest day in American history, January 22, 1973, let us here in Virginia take heart at the part we are playing in sending a pro-life message to the rest of the country. Our new Governor ran as unabashedly pro-life during throughout his campaign and he is now the leader of our great Commonwealth. We have a lot to be proud of here this year! Now let's get back to work!
Dear Pro-life friends and Visitors,
September is upon us. Cool cloudy days settle us down from the Summer excitement but hopefully help us to focus on the jobs to be done in Virginia this Autumn to help save innocent human lives.
There is so much to be done, too. As I write this we are awaiting the start of the fall sessions of the US Congress. The great debate of the year, Health Care Reform has shaped up to be a struggle about preventing our tax dollars from paying for either abortion or rationed care leading to euthanasia. It is the charge of pro-life people to keep the subject before the eyes of our Members of Congress and the Senate. We must ensure that these plans do not allow for the use of our taxes to pay for abortion. Nor will we accept health care changes that threaten the lives of the vulnerable or the elderly in order to save money or cut costs.
I urge you to take a few minutes and read the information available at The National Right to Life website, www.nrlactioncenter.com. There you will find the very latest updates on these issues. Study the information then do your duty as a Virginia pro-lifer and place a phone call to your representative and Senators Webb and Warner. They need to know we are watching what they do now to respect our views. We call upon them to defend all human life.
Even as we play our part in working to defeat the efforts of pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL in the health care debate, we must keep our eyes on the Commonwealth and this fall critical elections. The eyes of the entire USA are on Virginia this fall. We must work together to keep Virginia pro-life in November.
Pro-life Virginians have a great team of pro-life leaders at the top of the ticket this year. Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli have outstanding records on pro-life issues. The VSHL Political Action Committee will be working hard to help see that they are elected. Check out how you can help at www.vshlpac.org.
There has never been a more exciting or challenging time to be a pro-lifer in the Commonwealth! There is so much that we can do to change the course of history right now. I invite you to rededicate yourself to this vital cause. If you are not yet a member let me extend a hand of welcome to you. You are needed!
Each Virginian has a valuable part to play in this effort to protect human live which is the mission of VSHL. I welcome all of you to the meet the challenge!
Yours in defense of Life,
Olivia L Gans, President
Dear Pro-life Friends all over Virginia,
Victories! Yes, indeed, pro-life Virginians have several important things to celebrate now that the 2009 General Assembly is finished. VSHL participated in several critical legislative efforts this session, some didn't get out of committee but some did! The first big one is the passage of the "Choose Life" License Plates!
Sen. Ken Cuccinelli skillfully guided the bill through both the House of Delegates and the Senate. In spite of fears that it might be killed in the pro-abortion dominated Senate, or vetoed by Gov. Kaine, he was successful! I am very happy to say that VSHL was proud to support his efforts this session. These license plates will raise valuable funds for Virginia Pregnancy Resource Centers. Please send a thank you to the Governor's office. Thanks are also encouraged to Sen. Cuccinelli and your own Delegate or Senator, if they voted in favor of this bill.
VSHL also help to ensure that no new money will be used to fund embryonic stem cell research in the State budget. Along with that we successfully fought efforts to allow doctors to decide with out the patients wishes when ,and if a patient should receive life saving treatment at the end of life!
Although the Ultra-sound bill, sponsored by Sen. Kathy Byron didn't make it out of Committee, we will try again next year for sure! We believe women considering an abortion should have the chance to see their unborn child before they make this life and death decision.
As we move into the Spring, I am hopeful that many of you will consider holding an event at your church, synagogue or clubs to help educate and inform your neighbors about how to help the pro-life cause. A surprisingly few number of people actually know what is happening in America today on pro-life issues and even fewer know what can be done to help solve the problem. Please contact the VSHL office in Richmond if you are interested in the kinds of events that could be sponsored. There are great speakers in Virginia on the full range of pro-life issues from Stem Cell Research to End of Life Care, as well as Abortion.
Don't forget that the Annual Alex and Geline B. Williams Oratory Contest for High School students is coming up on May 9th. This is a great opportunity for Virginia students to hone their speaking skills on pro-life matters. The top three winners receive a monetary prize, and the first place winner will represent Virginia at the National Right to Life Convention in June.
While the election of pro-abortion President Barack Obama was a deep blow to pro-life hopes, it cannot be the end of our good work for Life! It must be a new beginning that calls us to draw even more deeply from the well of strength and commitment that brought so many of you to this cause.
All eyes are on Virginia as we prepare for this year's elections. We will need you help to ensure that we elect pro-lifer to all the offices in question this fall. Please let us know what you can do to help!
Each of you has a vital role to play in the work before us. If you are not yet a member, please contact us to learn more about what we do and how you can help.
Please accept this invitation to stand in defense of innocent human life here in Virginia.
Yours in defense of Life,
Olivia L. Gans
Listen to Olivia Gans interview with WINA -- Double Click on the File
| || |