In a setback for antiabortion forces in Richmond, the Virginia House of Delegates defeated a measure Monday to make the killing of a fetus a criminal act of murder. “Feticide” would have become a crime punishable by 20 years to life in prison. Pro-choice voices said the measure would begin to erode the legal right to abortion. Twenty-five other states have already extended legal protection to the fetus in criminal cases.
In another defeat for anti-choice factions, the Senate Education and Health Committed voted down a bid which would require doctors to notify parents if they perform abortions on patients younger than 18. Although this measure was defeated for the second time this year, both sides predicted that some form of the legislation would emerge from the General Assembly this year. Anti-abortion forces plan to add parental notification to another bill and prompt a fight on the Senate floor. Introduced every year in Virginia since 1979, these bills have already moved further this session than ever before.