On Monday, Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) filed a "personhood" bill, which states that life begins at conception and proposes to give constitutional 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." Yesterday marked the first day of the pre-filing period in introduce legislation.
Tarina Keene, president of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, "We have no doubt that this is just the beginning of an all-out series of legislative attacks on women's freedom and privacy." If passed this would ban emergency contraception, birth control pills, and IUDs as well as all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman or girl. The bill would even eliminate medical choices for women, including some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.
In the Mississippi election in November, Mississippi voters defeated the Personhood Amendment ballot initiative. While the state went Republican and voted for many candidates who supported Initiative 26, a state constitutional personhood amendment that would have given full rights to fertilized eggs, women's rights supporters successfully defeated this dangerous initiative 58% to 42% with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
Anti-abortion and anti-birth control extremists have indicated that they intend to put a similar measure on six state ballots in 2012. So far, reproductive rights supporters have defeated anti-choice state ballot measures in South Dakota, Colorado, and California in 2006 and 2008; in Colorado in 2010, and now Mississippi in 2011
Media Resources: Associated Press 11/22/11; PilotOnline.com 11/21/11
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