RICHMOND, Virginia – Congressman Bob Good (R-VA-05) held a rally on the Virginia Capitol grounds on Saturday afternoon to pressure Republican lawmakers to pursue a from-conception abortion ban, about two weeks after Governor Glenn Youngkin and leading pro-life lobbyist organization The Family Foundation said that they’d push for a 15-week pain threshold bill, due to the politically difficult environment in the General Assembly.
“The timeline of abortion should not be negotiated, abortion should not be negotiated, it should be eliminated,” Good said in his speech. “I’m sorry to say Republicans here in Richmond are the worst negotiators of all. You want to play poker with these folks. They show you what’s in their cards, they tell you the highest bid, and then they fold anyway.”
A small crowd braved the rain to attend the rally, organized by Good staffer Diana Shores and Chris Shores. Delegates Marie March (R-Floyd) and Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun) also spoke; Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) and Delegate John McGuire (R-Goochland) were also present. However, there was a conspicuous absence of Republican General Assembly leadership or key lobbyist organizations like The Family Foundation and the Virginia Society for Human Life. Although the rally was held just across the capitol grounds from the governor’s mansion, Youngkin was scheduled to be in Nebraska where he was the keynote speaker at that state’s GOP convention.
Congressional Life at Conception Legislation
Good is a cosponsor to Congressman Alex Mooney’s (R-WV-02) Life at Conception Act, which would declare that “The terms ‘human person’ and ‘human being’ include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”
That act would place unborn under the protection of the Constitution and specifically the 14th Amendment, but it is unlikely to advance in the current Democrat-controlled House. Good is leading Republicans in a long-shot effort to discharge that bill for a vote in the House.
“What a discharge petition means is if you have enough signatures from any members, if we get to 218, you can force a floor vote on it without having to depend on the Speaker. Now we don’t have 218 Republicans, we’ve got 210,” Good told The Virginia Star after the rally.
163 Republicans have cosponsored Mooney’s bill, and Good is hoping they’ll join the petition.
“While it’s obviously a long shot to say the least, in this Congress, what we’re trying to do is establish that we are the party of life at conception,” Good said.
Good thinks Republicans are expected to gain control of the House after November’s elections, and Good thinks that Republicans will retake a majority in the Senate as well. If a Republican wins the presidential election in 2024, that creates a clear path for national pro-life legislation.
“So you have to start somewhere. We’re trying to build consensus,” he said.
Del. March Introducing State-Level Life-at-Conception Bill Amid Contentious Primary Battle
“I’m here to pledge to all of you that I’m introducing and fighting for life at conception in this next session,” March said to loud cheers from the crowd. “I have a copy of it right here in my hand. So this will be the most pro-life legislation ever carried in Virginia.”
She said that in the 2022 session as a freshman delegate, she was asked to sponsor a fetal heartbeat bill.
“I couldn’t bring myself to carry it because I felt that it didn’t go far enough,” March said.
After the rally, March said that the legislation will be introduced sometime in July, and said she wanted to wait to comment on specific details until then. Reporters also asked her if she would support a 15 or 20-week pain capable abortion ban like the one proposed by Youngkin, given her concern about the fetal heartbeat bill.
“I want life at conception. Where I live in southwest Virginia, it’s extremely conservative and my voters want it. So I have to stick to life at conception, that’s where I’m at with this,” she said.
When pressed if that meant she’d vote no on a pain-capable bill, she said, “I’m not going to comment on it at the moment.”
Abortion is a key issue in March’s primary battle with Delegate Wren Williams (R-Patrick.) New district lines place the two freshmen delegates in the same safe-Republican House District 47 for the 2023 House elections. Both candidates are conservative, but Williams’ launched an attack on March in May, highlighting a 2019 Facebook post where March discussed abortion and said that while unborn babies deserve a chance, government shouldn’t be involved in the decision.
“We can’t trust Pro-Choice Squishes like March,” Williams said in a May press release.
Williams wasn’t present at the rally.
When asked why Williams wasn’t at the event, March said, “My guess would be, you know, Wren’s not as pro-life as he likes to splash.”
The Star asked Diana Shores, who arranged the speakers, if Williams was invited.
Shores didn’t reply directly, and said, “I don’t know him personally. He wasn’t disinvited.”
In her speech, March talked about being pregnant out of wedlock with her now-husband Jared March, and how she nearly got an abortion before they changed their mind at a clinic.
“I was sent into the bathroom to take a pregnancy test, and the strangest thing happened. And this is going to sound crazy, ya’ll. Well, the bathroom mirror sort of followed me around the bathroom, forcing me to look at myself in that mirror. I looked in the mirror at my face, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to look at myself the same ever again. I think at 19 years old, the Lord was helping me to see very clearly that day, and perhaps he was preparing me for such a day as this to tell my story,” she said.
“I came out of the bathroom, and Jared has had his own experience. He had the paper in his hand from the clinic and he was underling the sentence, ‘If you have any apprehension don’t do it.’ He kept underlining with his finger, ‘Don’t do it.’ So I started crying more. He hugged me, and we left and we went to Waffle House. And we cried together and we ate hashbrowns scattered, covered, and smothered.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bob Good” by Congressman Bob Good. Photo “Marie March” by Delegate Marie March. Background Photo “Virginia State Capitol” by Doug Kerr. CC BY-SA 2.0.