This past Friday something remarkable happened: Attorney General Mark Herring chose to defend existing, constitutional, Virginia laws limiting abortion by making a motion to dismiss a frivolous $1 billion lawsuit brought by the pro-abortion lobby.
Under normal circumstances, I would generally consider this to be a great cause for celebration. But like any action from anyone that is incongruent from past behavior, this one bears a little scrutiny.
As reported in The Washington Post, Herring’s motion states that “Many of the challenged laws are decades old, some of the challenged regulations are under active review, and plaintiffs make powerful arguments that certain other requirements warrant reconsideration by the Virginia General Assembly … But a federal courtroom is not the proper venue for debating the wisdom of these policies.”
This argument is fairly straightforward. No hidden meaning from Herring’s motion should be interpreted. In other words, do not be led into a false narrative that Herring is now unsympathetic to the cause of Planned Parenthood and friends and that he is suddenly finding his footing as Virginia’s top law enforcer.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) buys into the hype hook, line and sinker.
“As Virginia Democrats fall apart, Herring stands out, stalwartly defending Virginia’s pro-life legislation,” declares a party press statement.
You have to read that statement a couple times to actually believe it’s coming from the state GOP. This is the same Mark Herring who famously failed to defend the marriage amendment mere weeks into his first term in Bostic v. Rainey and was blasted at the time by the late former RPV chairman, Pat Mullins. Mullins called for Herring’s resignation and said, “It took Mark Herring less than a month to decide he doesn’t want to be Virginia’s attorney general.”
But the RPV release gets even better.
“Mark Herring’s defense of life comes as a surprise,” said RPV Communications Director B.T. March. “I’m glad he broke with his party on this particular issue. It is always good to see a politician put country over party, and I hope other Democrats will follow his lead.”
You know how you get that feeling of impending doom and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? How you see the train wreck coming mere seconds before impact and the vision is absolutely horrifying? This is what is happening here, and these are words I know March would love to take back.
If March’s first inclination was one of surprise, he should have trusted his gut: Herring isn’t being benevolent.
For one, the attorney general outright says in the motion that he sympathizes with the plaintiffs and thinks that many of the laws they are challenging should be overturned; he just doesn’t see the court as the correct venue.
Second, he explains that a portion of the code being challenged recognizes abortion centers as hospitals. While pro-abortionists normally disdain that categorization because of the potential regulation for meeting basic health standards (like cleaning up blood, using sterile instruments, etc.), in this instance they should be thrilled. By being classified as a hospital, abortion centers are not limited to first trimester abortions but can also perform the procedure in the second trimester!
Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation sees this bait-and-switch for what it is: “the Attorney General had to give his friends at Planned Parenthood something, so he once again chose to undermine Virginia law in a way that favors the abortion industry’s bottom line – and puts women’s health at risk.”
RPV is eager to point out the need to stand up for life and defend Virginia’s existing laws. That is commendable. But the reality is Mark Herring is far from being worth commending. His objective is still as clear as ever: promoting and enabling abortion.
Don’t be like the RPV. Don’t take the bait. Herring is still a rotten fish.
This column appears in The Princess Anne Independent News