While it is not uncommon for Republicans to do silly, stupid things, it is rare even for them to throw an entire state legal code into chaos. Yet that is precisely what the personhood bill just passed by the House of Delegates is poised to do.
The key line of this bill states:
The laws of this Commonwealth shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this Commonwealth...
Just. Unbelievably. Radical. As Waldo Jaquith points out
Of the 30,826 laws in the Code of Virginia, 11,482 of them-37%-contain the word "person." And there are 118 different things that "person" means in those 11,482 laws, because there are very specific things that they need to mean. Under Virginia law, a business cannot be guilty of murder, so under title 18.2 (Crimes and Offenses Generally), "person" does not apply to businesses, companies, corporations, joint-stock companies, etc. But under title 38.2 (Insurance), the word "person" doesn't include people as you and I think of them, but applies only to associations, businesses, etc.