And I happened to be there for the battle.
In 1994, I joined the A-Team as a Special Assistant to Kay James, Allen’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources. As such, I got to be there for some of the important battles, including welfare reform and parental notification.
I’d moved on to another position by the time the legislation passed and was signed. But I remember the day. I remember the significance. I remember the victory.
And I remember that Governor Allen was committed to getting the bill right, leading to the 1994 veto of the much weaker version.
As Governor Allen notes on his blog he signed the bill on March 22, 1997.
After an 18-year struggle, on March 22, 1997, George Allen signed into law a true and honest parental notification bill requiring parents or legal guardians to be notified if their minor daughter is going through the trauma of an abortion.
Over 2,500 people joined Allen outside the State Capitol to watch Virginia join the 36 other states to have implemented similar parental notification and/or parental consent laws.
“The family is the bedrock of society and the backbone of our economy. For generations, loving, caring families imparted to us and our forbearers the very values that made America good: individual initiative, personal responsibility, honesty, hard work, compassion for those less fortunate, and of course, faith in God,” stated Allen. “Parents have the right and responsibility to be involved with the important decisions in their young children’s lives. Today we are signing legislation affirming the importance and necessity of a parent’s guidance and counsel if their young daughter is facing the trauma of an abortion.”
Allen’s parental notification bill (SB 1148) requires a physician to notify at least one parent or legal guardian at least 24 hours before performing an abortion on an unwed girl under 18 years old.
Committed to achieving a strong notification law, Allen vetoed a weakened version of the bill in 1994 that would have lowered the age requirement to 16 as well as allowed relatives other than parents to be notified.