Less than two weeks after Mississippi voters overwhelmingly defeated a measure that would give two-celled zygotes the full rights of American citizens, Virginia Republicans are reviving the fight for “personhood” legislation in their state:
Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), one of the most outspoken legislators on abortion issues, filed a so-called personhood bill for the upcoming legislative session, which will begin in January.
The bill provides 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.” [...]
Many Virginia Republicans have said they are eager to revive socially conservative legislation that stalled or died in a Democratic-controlled Senate, now that both chambers are controlled by the GOP.
Despite the nation’s continuing unemployment crisis, Virginia Republicans are determined to use their new power to launch an all-out assault on women’s reproductive freedom. Like other personhood amendments, Marshall’s bill would effectively criminalize birth control and in vitro fertilization, in addition to abortion in all cases. Despite the defeat in Mississippi anti-abortion forces are pushing ahead with personhood initiatives in states including Oregon, Colorado, Montana, and Georgia.
Proponents say they will add greater specificity to their amendments “so it’s clearly understood by doctors and those women using contraceptives and fertility treatment,” although the text of the Virginia measure does not make any such destinations.