During this year’s lame duck session, some anti-choice lawmakers are seizing the opportunity to reintroduce anti-abortion legislation. But in Virginia, on the other hand, Republicans are unlikely to advance a radical “personhood” bill that would have granted fetuses the same rights as U.S. citizens — at least not this session, and perhaps not in the next one either.
Virginia lawmakers sent the personhood bill back to committee in February, ensuring that the legislation is effectively dead unless the state’s Senate Education and Health Committee brings it up for a vote this week. And the Washington Examiner reports that the committee’s chair, Sen. Steve Martin (R), has no plans to schedule that vote because he’s confident the measure doesn’t have enough support to pass. In fact, personhood is now struggling to gain the support of Virginia Republicans:
“We don’t have eight votes [a majority on the committee], and I’m not going to be spending taxpayers’ dollars just to call us back into town,” Martin said. “If they came up with the eighth vote in committee and could identify him, I’d be happy to call it up.”
The bill passed out of Martin’s committee in February. But the swing Republican on the panel, Sen. Harry Blevins of Chesapeake, has since sided against it. [...]
Del. Bob Marshall, the Manassas Republican who authored the personhood bill, plans to keep pushing an anti-abortion agenda, but he does sense fewer Republicans are less willing to embrace them.
“For years, the Republicans used to say Democrats were the ones blocking this, and now it clearly is the Republicans,” Marshall said.
Virginia is not alone. In Colorado, a radical personhood ballot initiative divided the anti-choice community, leading several Republican politicians to withhold support for the measure during this fall’s tight congressional races. Proposed personhood measures — which would outlaw all types of abortions, some forms of contraception, and potentially even invitro fertilization — have failed in states across the country.
And as conservative lawmakers begin to distance themselves from personhood, it may prove to be just the tip of the iceberg for the GOP. Republicans are beginning to concede that their positions on women’s health issues hurt them in the presidential election, and former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) even recently suggested that Republicans should avoid focusing on abortion whatsoever.