Republican Majority Could Pass VA 'Personhood' Bill

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Just two weeks ago, Mississippi voters rejected a "personhood" bill that would have defined life as beginning at conception.

Now, pro-life lawmaker Bob Marshall has introduced a bill in Virginia that would set the same definition of a person.

He says with the revisions he's made, the bill has a good chance of passing.

The question of when life begins will be debated in the first bill filed for next year in the Virginia legislature. Marshall, a Republican delegate, wants the unborn to have rights from the time of conception.

"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," Marshall explained.

The Personhood Bill would give "rights, privileges and immunities" to unborn children from the moment of fertilization until the time they're born. Read the proposed bill - HB1 

Delegate Marshall said the bill doesn't make abortion illegal, but it's a step.

"By itself, no, it doesn't outlaw abortion but it sets the platform for doing it," he said.

In the past five years, Marshall has filed similar bills. This time, he thinks the wording of the legislation is better and will get broader support.

"We satisfied people in the house of delegates last year that this didn't criminalize birth control, didn't criminalize artificial reproduction," he said. "We're trying to accommodate these circumstances and not criminalize these acts.

After this month's elections, Virginia Republicans now control both houses in the state legislature. That, along with new restrictions on abortion clinics, make Marshall hopeful about his bill.

"We're going to see how they respond to their newfound victory," Marshall said. "Is it the same old business or are they going to respond to the public's demand for change?"

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