Who is this group suing to end abortion access?

Last Friday, The Family Foundation of Virginia (TFF) filed a legal challenge to stop Virginia from fixing sham restrictions designed to shut down abortion providers. Since the restrictions were passed in 2011, one-third of Virginia’s abortion providers closed their doors. Changes to the regulations are a hard fought victory to protect women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care. TFF’s lawsuit begs the question: who is The Family Foundation and why are they fighting to shut down abortion providers?

Need a sham restriction explainer? We’ve got you covered.


Far from standing up for women and families, The Family Foundation pushes a radical, right-wing agenda to restrict access to health care, discriminate against LGBT Virginians, and limit quality public education.

The Family Foundation On Women’s Health

Since 2010, the Virginia General Assembly has proposed over 75 restrictions on women’s reproductive health care. TFF has been a key force behind many of these proposals, including the sham restrictions. Now they’re suing to protect them.

abortion restrictions

The Virginia General Assembly was widely ridiculed (even on Saturday Night Live) for their 2012 proposal to subject women to transvaginal ultrasounds before an abortion. TFF was right there, celebrating the ridiculous proposal. The bill was eventually amended to remove the requirement for an invasive ultrasound–in favor of a medically unnecessary abdominal ultrasound. An abdominal ultrasound early in pregnancy can’t detect much of anything. The amended bill also instituted a new “waiting period” for women seeking an abortion. The hoops women are required to jump through give extremists like TFF more time to bully and lie to women.

Lest you think TFF only opposes access to abortion, their anti-women’s health agenda extends to birth control, too. This year, Virginia passed its first proactive reproductive rights bill in a decade, allowing women to receive 12 months of birth control at one time. Progress Virginia was proud to be part of the winning coalition, providing communications and messaging support to get the bill passed. Guess who opposed us every step of the way? Yes, The Family Foundation.

The Family Foundation On Equality

TFF’s right-wing agenda isn’t limited to women’s health. The organization has a long, sad history of campaigning against equality and even advocating for discrimination against LGBT Virginians. TFF wasn’t content to stop with the Marshall-Newman amendment banning marriage equality in Virginia’s constitution.

Josh DuggarTFF’s Victoria Cobb with alleged sexual abuser Josh Duggar and former Virginia LG candidate E.W. Jackson, who has called LGBT individuals “perverted,” “degenerate,” and “very sick people psychologically, mentally, and emotionally.”

In 2012, TFF vocally campaigned against the appointment of Tracy Thorne Begland to a Richmond-area judgeship. TFF argued that Begland, a former prosecutor and military man, was unqualified because he is an out gay man. Conservatives in the Virginia House of Delegates rejected his nomination, caving to accusations from TFF that Begland couldn’t be impartial because he “was with President Obama when he signed the repeal of DADT”. Common sense eventually outweighed TFF’s hateful accusations and pearl clutching, but the whole episode goes down as a particularly ugly chapter in Virginia’s history.

More recently, TFF led the push to pass a North Carolina-style bathroom bill in Virginia, the economic consequences be damned. It’s hardly a surprise, coming from the organization for state-funded discrimination against LGBT Virginians.

The Family Foundation On Health Care

Think Jesus calls on us to care for the least among us? TFF says, “think again”. The Christian advocacy organization opposes closing the coverage gap and expanding Medicaid to provide health care coverage to up to 400,000 low-income Virginians.

TFF’s advocacy isn’t limited to so-called “family values.” They’re not above carrying water for corporate special interests? Case in point: TFF has pushed model legislation written by the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a corporate bill mill that facilitates lobbyists meeting behind closed doors with legislators to devise new ways to increase their bottom lines. TFF claims credit on their website for passage of the so-called “Health Care Freedom Act.”

What’s that?

It’s model legislation written by ALEC  and designed to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Former Virginia Attorney General and noted right-wing idealogue Ken Cuccinelli even used the law to sue the Obama Administration over health care reform..

The Family Foundation on Public Education

TFF’s opposition to quality public education for every child is long-lived. A recent tirade? Banning Pulitzer-Prize winning novelists like Toni Morrison from public classrooms. (Perhaps we should add TFF to our book delivery list?)

TFF’s ties to ALEC extend to public education as well. The organization strongly supported faux-voucher schemes that funnel dollars from local public schools to private ones. No surprise–the bill was based on ALEC model legislation.

And never ones to mind standing out from the crowd, TFF has even went out on a limb to oppose expanding Pre-K programs, a proposal supported by 70% of Americans. Their argument? Kids should be at home with mom and dad (sorry working parents!)

Organizations like The Family Foundation will continue attempting to marginalize Virginians based on their gender, income, or sexuality instead of working to ensure every family can succeed. We need your help to ensure our hard-won victory was not in vain. Your gift of $10.00 or more strengths our tactics to stop The Family Foundation from gaining any traction in their lawsuit to harm women and their families.