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Virginia Society for Human Life

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Virginia Society for Human Life

Virginia Society for Human Life
Formation 1967
Headquarters Richmond, VA
President Olivia Gans

The Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL) is a non-profit organization advocating an end to abortion in [5]


VSHL works through political and social channels against abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and other life issues in Virginia with the ultimate goal of ending those practices in the state and nationwide. It lobbies for pro-life legislation or against pro-choice legislation in the Virginia General Assembly. VSHL president Olivia Gans says that during a General Assembly session, VSHL has "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...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."[3]

In 2011, VSHL was involved in the passage of a bill to regulate abortion clinics as hospitals.[3] The bill, which passed the House by an large margin and passed the Senate after a tiebreaker vote from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, may force a number of abortion clinics in the state to close.[6]

In August 2012 VSHL started a pro-life youth camp called Camp [5]

In the fall of 2012 VSHL supported Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's push to have abortion clinics fall under the same regulations that new hospital construction standards call for. Olivia Gans Turner president of the VSHL argued that the new abortion clinic rules were called for. She cited the notorious Pennsylvania abortion clinic in Philadelphia of Kermit Gosnell that Pennsylvania state officials labeled as a "house of horrors."[7]

In January 2013 VSHL supported a rally at the Virginia State Capital in favor of Pro Life in which several hundred pro-life supporters showed up. Several dozen induced abortion supporters showed up also. "It is hard work to do the right thing," and "We're here and we've got your back." stated VSHL president Olivia Gans Turner to the many lawmakers that were present. The pro-life supporters were of diversified ages and many had pink scarves and baby blue scarves around them. They also had stickers that stated "Abortion Hurts" and "Unborn Babies Feel Pain."[8]

VSHL supported the amendment by Governor Robert McDonnell to forbid insurers from offering abortion coverage if they elect to be part of the soon to come federal health exchange. The Virginia General Assembly approved the amendment on 3 April 2013 after Virginia House of Delegates approved the amendment earlier in the day. Olivia Gans the president of VSHL stated taxpayers are indebted to the Virginia governor and the Virginia General Assembly. "Without this amendment, starting in 2014 Virginians would have been forced to pay for all abortions on demand done in the commonwealth through the new federal health care law."[9]

In April 2013 VSHL advocated that the Virginia Board of Health require abortion clinics to follow the same construction standards as new hospital to limit botched abortions. The Virginia Board of health approved regulations requiring the states abortion clinics to follow existing standards of construction for new hospitals by a vote of 11-2 "These reasonable regulations will begin to rein in reckless abortionists in Virginia" stated Olivia Gans Turner the VSHL president.[10]

VHSL Mission Statement

"Virginia Society for Human Life, Inc., is a voluntary and non-denominational organization united in the belief that the human being in his innate dignity and worth should be safeguarded by law at every stage of biological development. Through education and legislative activity, the Society's purpose is to promote measures which will insure protection for all innocent human life."[1]

Morning After Pill Controversy

The American Life League (ALL) accused the VSHL of inconsistencies for not taking a stand against the morning after pill legislation that was to allow over the counter sales in Virginia. The bill went down in defeat in the Virginia Legislature. ALL President Judie Brown charged, "The problem is that everybody knows that this combination of pills, otherwise known as morning after pills in fact works to abort children," "It seems appalling to us that ... the Virginia Society for Human Life has taken no position on something as clearly as abortifacient in nature as these pills are." The VSHL made no comments on the American Life League's charges but issued the following statement:"The Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL) is opposed to abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. VSHL takes no position on the prevention of fertilization, i.e. the union of the sperm and the egg cell. Once fertilization has occurred, a new human life has begun and VSHL is opposed to destroying human life."[11]


VSHL PAC provides support to pro-life candidates for public office, especially for U.S. Congress, the Virginia General Assembly, and statewide offices. The VSHL endorsed Fred Thompson for president in 2007.[1][2] They also endorsed Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the 2009 elections, as well as 61 candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates.[12] VSHL PAC started in 1990 and has spent about $100,000 on federal elections since then.[13] In the 2011 state elections, 11 of VSHL's endorsed state Senate candidates and 21 endorsed House of Delegates candidates were elected.[14][15]


VSHL was involved in a federal court case against the Federal Election Commission that was decided in 2001. VSHL planned to distribute voter guides for the 2000 elections that would detail VSHL's views on life issues and would show various candidates' positions on these issues. VSHL submitted a petition to the FEC asking it to repeal a subsection of election regulations that would declare these activities corporate expenditures, illegal for a 501(c)(3) non-profit. VSHL said the law was too broad. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, agreed, and issued an injunction against the FEC prohibiting them from enforcing the law in question. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the lower court's nationwide injunction and amended the injunction to apply only to VSHL.[16][17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Sadosky, Jeff (20 December), Fred Thompson Receives the Endorsement of Virginia Society for Human LifeNation's Oldest Right to Life Organization Supporting Thompson (Press release), McLean, Virginia: Standard Newswire 
  2. ^ a b Fred Thompson Receives the Endorsement of Virginia Society for Human Life Presidency Project UCSB.EDU, 20 December 2007. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Moving forward
  4. ^ VSHL About Us
  5. ^ a b Historic VSHL Pro Life Camp National Right to Life, 20 August 2012. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  6. ^ Abortion clinics fear new Virginia law could shut them down
  7. ^ New Regulations Could Treat Virginia Abortion Clinics Like Hospitals National Public Radio.Org, 7 January 2013. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  8. ^ Protesters on both sides of abortion debate gather at Capitol Times, 9 January 2010. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  9. ^ Block on Abortion Coverage Passes Times, 4 April 2013. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  10. ^ Stricter Building Rules Times, 13 April 2013. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  11. ^ Pro-life Rivalry Erupts Over 'Morning After' Pill CBS, July 7, 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  12. ^ VSHL 2009 Endorsements
  13. ^ VSHL --
  14. ^ Pro-lifers Win Majorities in 2011 Election!
  15. ^ Pro Lifers Win Control of Both Houses Life Site, 10 November 2011. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
  17. ^ Circuit Court decision

External links

  • Official website
  • VSHL PAC website
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