I was born and raised in Virginia and am generally proud of that. After all Virginia was home to four of the first five presidents; it is home to Jamestown, the first permanent settlement in the U.S. and the scenery is gorgeous. It is also “southern” and generally conservative which causes me to spend a lot of time going “wait, what?” A look at the first bill of the 2012 legislature has me seriously considering taking up my adopted state as “home.”
Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) introduced a “personhood” bill (H.B. 1) as the first issue that will be looked at by the state government once they reconvene next year. My first thought was “Ugh really? This again?” Then “It will never pass, people won’t vote for it.” Then I read a little closer and it looks the difference between them is that this is not an amendment to the states constitution- it is just a bill for a new law, which means the residents of the state won’t be voting for it, the current lawmakers will. Republicans won control of both the state Senate and House of Delegates which means it might actually pass.
Like the “personhood” amendment from Mississippi, this bill defines “personhood” as beginning at the moment of conception. The Bill intentionally creates rights for “unborn children” and states that “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the Commonwealth.”
According to Del. Marshall the bill itself does not illegalize abortion; what it does do is address what he sees as a need: “In Virginia, a pregnant woman who gets in a car accident, she may not sue on behalf of wrongful death of her pre-born child and this would remedy that situation.” While it may be true that the bill doesn’t explicitly outlaw abortion; it is sufficiently vague that it could result in abortion being outlawed because the “unborn child has rights.” Much like the “personhood” amendment in Mississippi this bill can also ban the use of IUD’s, emergency contraception, and even certain types of the pill.
The whole thing is just absurd; once again politicians are putting policing women’s bodies ahead of fixing a staggering economy. It is beyond clear where the majority of Republicans priorities lie controlling women = number one. Economy = not on the list apparently.