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Bulletin: VA Personhood Amendment

By a vote of 24 to 14, with all Democrats and four Republicans voting yes, the Virginia Senate voted to send a “personhood” bill back to the state Senate Health and Education committee. The bill passed out of committee this morning by a vote of eight to seven and was expected to pass the full Senate. Senator Richard Saslaw (D) filed a motion to send the bill back to committee, and Republican Tommy Norment seconded the motion. The bill will not be voted on until 2013, after the Presidential election. There is speculation that this decision was made based on input from Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal stated, “This clearly shows the power of the women’s movement and that such an extreme amendment can’t stand the light of day. The strong public outpouring and silent protest Monday, the filling of the galleries Tuesday, and the rally Wednesday sent a powerful message to the Governor and the Republican leadership that this bill couldn’t be voted on before the national election.” The “personhood bill,” sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), states that life begins at conception and would give rights to a fertilized egg. The bill proposes to give “unborn children at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.”