After being removed from the General Assembly building and the Capitol grounds earlier in the morning for screaming "Shame!" at Del. Bob Marshall following a Senate panel's approval of the controversial personhood measure, protesters came back on the grounds to line the walk from lawmakers offices to the Capitol building.
The crowd swelled from roughly 100 who were positioned across the street to nearly 500, as estimated by Capitol police, when they came back to the Capitol grounds As they did Monday, they at first stood silently, holding no signs.
But as Democratic lawmakers who have vocally opposed the wave of anti-abortion measures before the General Assembly this session, such as Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, and Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, came through the crowd protestors began to vocally thank them and cheer wildly - again going silent as Republican lawmakers walked the gantlet of protesters.
"It just shows everybody what politicians are doing it's just a tremendous insult to women and their reproductive rights," Said Northam, who is a pediatric neurologist. "It's also, as a physician, it's a tremendous insult to physicians and the patient physician relationship. So I'm glad they're up here. I'm glad they're being heard, glad they're advocating for their beliefs."
Sen. John Miller, D-Newport News, who walked through the throng with Northam, agreed.
"I'm just glad to see so many people involved," Miller said. "The publicity Virginia has been getting is embarrassing to say the least. And people are getting that and they're taking names."
Democrats have complained again and again this session that Republicans, who know control the evenly-divided Senate on a tie-breaking vote by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, have overreached with their new found power, pushing a socially conservative agenda - which Republicans contend is not true.
"We just came through an election and people are worried about the economy, their jobs, transportation, the environment," Northam said. "And it's just unfortunate that the legiaslators - the General Assembly - has to get involved in these social issues. I think that should be part of the message up here. There are other things we should be concentrating on rather than someones private business."
"Virginia's got really big problems we've got to address," Miller said. "We've spent so much time and energy trying to deal with these social issues that we haven't done anything for transportation, or education, or job creation that people are interested in."
Republicans say Democrats and the media are distorting the record and point out that less than 3 percent of the legislation this session has dealt with social issues.
The social issues, however, have prompted growing protests at the Capitol in recent days and weeks, and focused a national media spotlight on the commonwealth. Virginia has even become fodder for late-night comedy shows in the past week like "Saturday Night Live" and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."