- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

RICHMOND A ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, a parental consent bill and pro-life license plates are all likely to pass the House of Delegates and state Senate with enough votes to withstand a veto by the governor.
"This year's legislative agenda contains 10 years worth of pro-life legislation rolled into one," said Delegate Richard H. Black, a leading pro-life legislator. "There is a new generation of younger legislators with [a greater] commitment to family values while legislators who support abortion are growing old and dropping from the ranks of the General Assembly."
Pro-life advocates said they expected a long struggle, which they hope is coming to a close.
"We know these things take time and that you cannot make laws overnight," said Victoria Cobb, director of legislative affairs for the Family Foundation, a conservative pro-life advocacy group.
For years, Miss Cobb and Brenda Fastabend of the Virginia Society for Human Life have been recruiting pro-life candidates and speaking out against abortion.
While pro-choice advocates say abortion restrictions take away women's rights, Miss Cobb, Mrs. Fastabend and other opponents say abortion takes away human life.
"I find it incredibly insulting that people have characterized women in a monolithic way or universally supportive" of abortion," Miss Cobb said. "It is possible to be pro-women and pro-life."
The late-term abortion bill passed the Senate 27-12 and now is before a House committee.
Mr. Warner vetoed similar legislation last year, but two pro-life legislators have taken the places of two pro-choice legislators this year in the Senate, which should give the chamber the requisite 27 votes to override another veto.
"We still have a governor who does not hold the pro-life position, but we are hopeful," Mrs. Fastabend said.
The House passed the parental-consent bill and today will send it and five other abortion-related bills to the Senate Education and Health Committee.
Mr. Warner said he's concerned about the bill, but has not flatly pledged a veto. House members say they have enough votes to override that one too.
Mr. Black, Loudoun County Republican, has a bill to allow Virginia drivers to put a "Choose Life" slogan on their license plates. Proceeds from the plates would go toward adoption-related services.
This bill passed the House 56-38 and is being considered today by the Senate Transportation Committee.
Outside Mr. Black's office in the General Assembly building is a prototype plate with the characters "IAM4IT."
"There is a sea-change taking place on the issue of abortion," Mr. Black said. "The people who are pro-life are having more children than the pro-choice people. The doorman at my hotel just asked me if he would be able to get that plate. I told him to keep praying and hopefully we will."
Mr. Black angered many of his colleagues in the Senate last week by sending them a plastic doll of an 11-week-old fetus. He has several on a desk outside his office, sitting next to the Choose Life plate.
"It was important that everyone know that we are not aborting a jelly-like mass," said Mr. Black, who has campaigned against abortion since being elected to the House in 1997. "We are killing an almost completely formed child."

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