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We have much to mourn

This is a time for mourning. We began the week as we have traditionally done with Memorial Day, mourning for those that we have lost in the various wars in which our nation has fought to protect the values that we share.

Values that are encompassed in many of our faiths, but that are also represented in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution — including the Bill of Rights, and respect for human life.

Originally, Memorial Day was established as May 30 of each year. In more recent years, it was officially moved to the fourth Monday of May. This year we can make it Memorial Week.

CORONAVIRUS

This particular year, we have other reasons to mourn. The coronavirus has taken from many of us. This virus, like viruses before it, such as the flu, has the greatest impact on the weakest among us. We have lost many in the senior years of their lives. Many that we have lost had been successful members of our communities. Some have been veterans who have served our nation. Some have been community leaders, operated businesses, been involved with civic associations and churches, or served in any number of other ways. Many we recognize as parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Let us take a moment to pray for them even if we have been barred from attending their funerals.

There will be a time in the future when we can reflect on what was done wrong that left so many of these vulnerable citizens unprotected in many nursing homes while leadership in our state capitols were focused on which day, week, or month businesses and schools should be allowed to reopen.

ABORTION

For many of us, we also focus our mourning on those who have had their lives cut short by the process of abortion. While many people have different positions on when life begins and the issue of ending life with an abortion, we should all regret that so many have been performed. In the U.S. alone, 63 million abortions have been performed since 1973. Pray for these lost souls.

Eighteen other states ranked worse. So far in 2020, “only” 21,000 babies’ lives have been ended this way in Virginia. One in six pregnancies end by abortion. It could be worse. In New York the rate is one in three.

However, things are about to get more dismal in our state. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that states could not stop abortions. Over the last two decades, a majority of legislators with bipartisan support developed regulations that were perceived by most as fair and responsible. We have worked within the courts’ rulings to make sure abortions were done in safe facilities with medical board credentials. That mothers were given information about other options such as adoption. They were required to have a cooling off period to think through what they were doing, not acting on impulse.

Last year, appointees by Gov. Northam and former Gov. McAuliffe changed regulations that were put in place to ensure the mother’s safety. This year, HB980, sponsored by Delegates Charniele Herring and Dawn Adams, Sen. Jennifer McClellan and others, reverses most every law regarding abortion. No longer will doctors have to be present. The provider must still be licensed but their training does not ensure they have the needed expertise if something goes wrong. No longer will a waiting period be required nor will educational information be presented to the mother. Likewise, nor will anyone be required to show the mother a sonogram. The bill eliminates the requirement that identification be presented as proof of age. This alone allows an underage teen to walk in, say she is 18, and have an abortion. No parent or guardian will be required.

These changes will go into effect July 1. We may well see that Virginia returns to the days when safety is not considered a priority. The priority will instead be how many and how quickly mothers can be run through the process. Let us all pray that at some time we will return to a saner policy.

We have much to mourn this week and this year. Let us pray for the souls of each lost life — in service, illness, and abortion.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.