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By: Jeff Caruso, Director of the Virginia Catholic Conference

Friday, Jeff Caruso described to us the behind the scenes advocacy work of the Virginia Catholic Conference that occurred in the attempts to pass a Virginia state budget amendment that would cut the majority of state funding for abortion. For Part I in this series, click here.

On the 4th of July, Jeff shares with us the outcome of advocacy in the political process:

The Evening of April 21 – Victory in the Senate

Catholic advocacy impacted the Va Senate decision

Finally, around 9:00 p.m., the Senate took up the matter. Senator Mark Obenshain (R – Harrisonburg) explained the amendment and effectively countered the arguments of the five senators who spoke against the bill. 

 As pro-life advocates watched from the Senate gallery, the contentious floor debate concluded, and senators were asked to record their votes. As the green and red dots were registered next to each senator’s name on the electronic voting board, the green thankfully outnumbered the red … by one. The Senate’s 20-19 vote handed the pro-life cause in Virginia a historic victory!

Looking Ahead at the Impact of this Policy
With the governor’s amendment now part of the budget, many unborn lives can be saved, and state taxpayers who oppose financing life-ending practices have a greater measure of conscience protection. 

Data gathered from the Conference’s network showed an unprecedented level of responses to alerts on this proposal, and Conference staff repeatedly heard that legislators were receiving e-mails from their pro-life constituents. People who responded to the alert, and parishes that promoted it, made the critical difference. 

How can you help?
Those kinds of efforts will surely be needed again as the issue resurfaces in future years, so more network members are needed. Catholics across Virginia are urged to visit the Conference’s website and use the online sign-up feature to enroll.  Together, we can thank God for the hard-fought outcome in 2010, but we must also defend it vigorously and build for even greater gains.

Celebrating Independence Day is an opportunity to remember the perseverance of our nation’s founders. Together, they secured the freedom that we have today to be faithful citizens – freedom which enables us to participate in political decisions like the one I have described. May we exercise this freedom often to promote the common good of our Commonwealth. Happy Fourth of July!

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