‘Personhood’ bill advances
Virginia took a step this week toward becoming the first state to define a fertilized egg as a human being, when a Republican supermajority in the House of Delegates easily passed a controversial “personhood” bill. Delegate Robert Marshall’s House Bill 1 passed by a 66–32 vote and will now move to the Senate, where a conservative majority is expected to pass it as well. The bill, which would all but outlaw abortion by declaring that the legal rights of personhood apply from the moment sperm and egg unite, will be sent to Gov. Bob McDonnell, a conservative Republican and a Roman Catholic. McDonnell has not declared his position on the bill, but pro-choice advocates fear his decision. “The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs,” said Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.