VIRGINIA DIGEST

By Virginia Digest
Friday, January 19, 2007

NAACP Leaders Pay a Surprise Visit to Hargrove

Del. Frank D. Hargrove Sr., the Hanover County Republican who caused a furor this week by saying that black Virginians should "get over" slavery instead of demanding an official state apology, received an unexpected visit in his office yesterday from a group of NAACP officials.

The group of state and local NAACP officials included King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia NAACP, and J. Rayfield Vines Jr., president of the Henrico County NAACP.

The meeting was cordial but intense. "I think we owe a debt of appreciation to the contributions made by everybody, including African Americans," Hargrove told his visitors.

Replied Vines: "But if there was no intent on your part, shouldn't that make it easier to apologize?"

Hargrove said: "I don't have anything to apologize for, that's what I'm trying to tell you. It wasn't aimed at you, sir. I apologize to you personally."

That didn't placate Vines, who wondered why Hargrove would be willing to apologize personally to him but would not support a state-sponsored apology to all. Hargrove, meanwhile, said he is contemplating introducing a measure to give thanks for the end of slavery. It won't be this year, though, he said.

-- Amy Gardner

Proponents Seek Laws to Shield Birth Control

Virginia lawmakers and activists who support abortion rights said yesterday in Richmond that legislation is needed to shield birth control from state laws and regulations governing abortions.

Representatives of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia and other organizations joined several lawmakers in urging approval of a bill that would define birth control as contraceptive methods approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The legislation, sponsored by Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax), also states: "Birth control shall not be considered abortion."

Among the items the FDA lists as birth control is the so-called morning-after pill, which can be taken after sex to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb. Abortion opponents who contend that life begins at conception say this is a form of abortion.

In recent years, the General Assembly has rejected a proposal to require parental consent for unmarried minors to obtain the morning-after pill and another to prohibit state-supported colleges and universities from distributing the drug to students.

-- Associated Press

On the Web

To listen to audio of Hargrove and other lawmakers, visit the blog by The Washington Post's reporters in Richmond at http://blog.washingtonpost.com/richmondreport/


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