Home Virginia Politics And Now “Personhood”: VA Republicans “continue…to pass extreme bill after extreme bill”

And Now “Personhood”: VA Republicans “continue…to pass extreme bill after extreme bill”


Virginia House Democrats sum up my feelings perfectly: “As if the events of yesterday weren’t enough, legislative Republicans continue on their course to pass extreme bill after extreme bill.” And, of course, Virginia “Republicans are completely out of step with the priorities of Virginia families.” Not that they care, of course. Nor do they care that “personhood” is so extreme, that even the voters of deep, deep “red” Mississippi rejected it soundly this past November. Hopefully, Virginia voters will turn out in droves this November and reject these divisive-social-issues-all-the-time Republicans, along with their loony-tunes ideas, up and down the ballot here in Virginia as well.


Richmond – Continuing the General Assembly’s month-long fixation with divisive social issues and restricting women’s health, the Republican-led Senate Education and Health Committee today passed HB1 along an 8-7 party-line vote.  The bill, introduced by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), grants embryos legal “personhood” at the moment of conception and may outlaw abortion.  

The Senate did approve an amendment to the bill exempting birth control, but that amendment failed in the House on a 64 to 34 vote when introduced by Del. Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) last week.  HB1 now heads to the Senate floor, where Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling can break ties in the evenly-divided chamber.

As if the events of yesterday weren’t enough, legislative Republicans continue on their course to pass extreme bill after extreme bill,” said Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond).  “Neither common sense, medical fact, nor public opinion seems able to sway Republicans from enacting the most overreaching legislation possible.”

“The priorities of House and Senate Republicans are completely out of step with the priorities of Virginia families,” remarked Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (D-Franconia). “I wish we had spent as much time on transportation and education as we have on divisive social issues.”

The Republican-led House of Delegates passed the “personhood” bill on a 66-34 vote last week.  If the bill emerges from the full Senate, it will head to Gov. McDonnell, who described himself yesterday as someone who believes governments have a duty to protect “innocent human life.”                      

At the same committee, Senate Republicans also advanced HB462, the medically-unnecessary ultrasound bill that passed the House last week prior to a national uproar.  

  • Ingrid

    And Rachel and Ed and Al, etc.  I hope they cover this nonsense as well as they did SB484. So much for the “small government” crowd.

  • bholl


    But jobs, not so much.

  • Senate Republicans Disregard Virginia Women, Vote for Personhood

    Republicans subvert the will of the Commonwealth – House Bill 1 opposed by a majority of Virginians

    Republican legislators today voted in lock step for House Bill 1, the “personhood bill,” which declares that life begins at conception. HB 1 is a top priority of Virginia Republicans, who are pushing this divisive legislation upon a public that does not want it. Since they claimed a majority the electorate did not give them, Republicans have been taking Virginia backwards with a mean-spirited social agenda that targets women and minorities and hard-working Virginians.

    Senator Maime E. Locke (D-Hampton) said, “This bill is insidious and it is beginning a process that will take this Commonwealth backwards. The individual rights of the woman are being challenged continuously. For those of us who feel that women are smart enough to make their own decisions about their body, this bill is abominable.”

    Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “The Republicans are turning Virginia into the laughingstock of the country. If a fetus is a person, can a pregnant woman use HOV lanes? The Virginia state legislature is not a doctor. Republicans need to get their heads out of the exam room and the personal lives of Virginians. With two weeks left in the session, when will we start doing the work of the Commonwealth?”

    Advocates of this legislation claim that HB 1 merely creates a legal cause of action in the event of the wrongful death of the fetus. But this is not the case. Not only does HB 1 demean women, it threatens to criminalize in vitro fertilization treatments that many Virginia families depend on to start a family. One in eight Virginians is infertile, and HB 1 could make fertilization treatments illegal. Moreover, the law could hold women and their doctors accountable for the loss of a pregnancy. And even during natural conception, only 20% of fertilized eggs implant in the uterine wall.

    The vote in the Education and Health committee today sends HB 1 to the Virginia Senate, which is expected to pass the measure. Since the House has already passed HB 1, the personhood bill will land on Governor Bob McDonnell’s desk. We hope he has heard the loud voices of the majority of Virginians.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    If a fertilized egg is a human being, does every pregnant woman get two tax exemptions?

  • This is something we need to remember, as we talk about this bill.  One in five women will miscarry during her childbearing years.  One in four established (ie, implanted and developing) pregnancies will result in a miscarriage.  Miscarriage has a very uneasy place in our culture, as any woman who has had one will tell you.  People are uncomfortable talking about them with you.  No one knows what to call a 10 week old pregnancy that didn’t make it — him?  her?  it?  For some women, it is a significant of an event as losing a child (and I’ve talked with many women who have lost children and miscarried, so I’m not being hyperbolic here.)  Many religious women truly believe that their baby is waiting for them in heaven.

    But then you also have women for whom the experience is more nuanced.  They lost the baby they held in their minds, more than the one they carried.  They will tell you that it was more like ending a pregnancy than it was losing a child.  Doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt, didn’t profoundly disappoint, just that even religious women who have experienced the event this way aren’t comfortable with their “angel babies.”  (For what it’s worth, this was me.)

    And then there are women for whom the miscarriage is a huge relief.  Perhaps this was someone for whom another pregnancy was a terrible burden, emotionally, financially, or the toll it could take on the woman and her family.  I have spoken with many a pro-life woman who has told me that while she would never get an abortion, she was relieved that the pregnancy did not survive.  Many have told me that it was “God’s will” this way.  Whether they have babies waiting for them in heaven is not nearly as important as what they needed here on earth.

    Anyway, I bring all of this up, because if the personhood bill becomes law, I want to know how we are going to handle miscarriages?  Are we going to force women into hospitals?  Some women choose to do that, but it was important to me to take care of myself and my loss within the privacy of my own home.  Would I have to somehow “prove” my pregnancy loss to someone?  Would I be questioned to make sure that I hadn’t harmed my pregnancy to the point of loss?  Would the women, for whom this experience is devastating, be questioned by doctors?  Police?  An ethics board?  But without such questioning, how could this possibly be enforced?

    So I’d like to ask a very simple question — if you or someone you know has had a miscarriage, as them how they would like to be treated following that, and whether that is possible under a bill like this one.  And then please explain it to me.  Because I don’t see how it can be done.