Pro-life groups across Virginia have called on their state lawmakers to implement tougher restrictions on abortion facilities in the Commonwealth. They made their voices heard as the state's new legislative session began this week.
Organizers of the Rally for Life want Virginia lawmakers to enact stricter rules and regulations on clinics that perform abortions in the Old Dominion State.
Despite the cold weather, pro-life supporters stood together on the grounds of the state capitol for the cause of life.
"There's not a more dangerous place in Virginia or in the rest of the country than the womb so it's really out of love that the people came here today," said Shawn Carney, campaign director of 40 Days for Life.
In the past, Del. Bob Marshall, R-Va., has introduced legislation that hold abortion clinics to higher standards. He said now is the time to take action.
"We've had almost 1.1 million children lose their lives that's like one-eighth of the present population in Virginia," Marshall said. "If not now, when?"
If tougher regulations are put in place many abortion clinics could be forced to shut down. That's because the regulations would force abortion facilities to adhere to hospital-like standards and truthful reporting about complications. Pro-life groups believe that would save lives. Yet, while they see new regulations as a step in the right direction, they're adamant that their ultimate goal is to end abortion.
"I don't think it's the total solution, I think we need to recognize them as human beings and stop killing them altogether," said Aaron Messier, a Haymarket, Va., resident.
"We need to close them down that's the ultimate goal, stop abortion," said Kathleen Messier, another Haymarket resident.
Abortion rights advocates said the proposed regulations were a naked attempt to force abortion clinics out of business.
When the rally ended that's when the real work actually began as the pro-life supporters headed over to the capitol building to encourage their lawmakers to take a stand for life.
"We're going into the capitol and we're going to talk to the people there and lobby for this regulation that we all need and that we all can benefit from," said Susan Hayes, a Clifton, Va. resident.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., has said that he supports legislation that would increase regulations on abortion clinics and believes most Virginians want to see a reduction in the number of abortions in their state.