RICHMOND — A pro-life organization called Day of Tears is urging
the Virginia General Assembly to pass a resolution declaring a day of mourning
to mark the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe
v. Wade decision.
Joined by a dozen Republican colleagues, Delegates Benjamin Cline
of Amherst and Richard Bell of Staunton introduced resolution HR 268. It would
declare Jan. 22 as the Day of Tears in the state, and encourage Virginians “to
lower their flags to half-staff to mourn the innocents who have lost their
lives to abortion.”
The House Rules Committee approved the resolution Jan. 16. The
committee voted 10 to 4, along party lines, to send the resolution to the full
House of Delegates.
Democratic Delegates Kenneth Plum of Reston, David J. Toscano of
Charlottesville, Jeion A. Ward of Hampton and Betsy B. Carr voted against the
resolution. The chairman of the House Rules Committee, House Speaker William J.
Howell of Stafford, did not vote.
Jan. 22, 1973, was a monumental day for both pro-life and
pro-choice advocates. That is when the Supreme Court declared that the U.S.
Constitution protected a woman’s right to have an abortion.
Pro-life groups want Virginia and other states to designate Jan.
22 as the Day of Tears to bring awareness to the estimated 58 million pregnancies
that have been terminated since 1973.
Cline, Bell and other supporters of the idea held a news
conference Jan. 12 to urge support for the proposal.
Ken Adams, a leader of the Day of Tears organization, opened the
standing-room-only press conference by explaining why he wants Jan. 22 to be a
“Countless women have gone through the grief and regret and
suffering and heartache from their loss,” Adams said. “Many of them will never
really quite recover. So, from that Supreme Court decision on Jan. 22, there
has been an ocean of tears shed. So it’s our assertion that it is only proper
and fitting that Jan. 22 be called the Day of Tears, and that’s why we are
Another speaker at the news conference was Christopher Freund,
vice president of the Family Foundation, which advocates a “biblical
“This resolution requires nothing of anyone, including the state
government,” Freund said. “It’s simply a way to inform people of a way that
they can participate in public mourning of the deaths of nearly 60 million
Cline said lowering the flags on the proposed Day of Tears could
draw more people to be pro-life supporters.
“A majority of Americans support life and believe in the sanctity
of human life,” Cline said. “These women (who) are undergoing that difficult
process understand that there is a support network for them — praying for them,
working for them, wanting to help them make that decision to protect life. And
by making a visual step in support of life, hopefully we can save lives, and
this is what this is ultimately about.”
Diana Shores, the social media director for Day of Tears, said
she will be elated if the General Assembly approves Cline’s resolution.
“I’ll be very happy if this is passed because this is an effort
to honor and to bring value to the lives lost and affected by abortion,” Shores
said. “Because when abortion occurs, of course, it affects the mother and it
affects the father and families.”
The Day of Tears organization has reached out to other states
such as West Virginia, Illinois and Indiana in hopes they will designate Jan.
22 as a Day of Tears.
Americans are sharply divided on the issue of abortion rights.
According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., this
month, 62 percent of voters nationwide believe abortion should be legal in most
or all cases, while 32 percent believe it should be illegal in most or all
In Virginia, Democratic leaders like U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine say that
they personally oppose abortions but that women should have the right to decide
whether to terminate a pregnancy.