In a stunning turn of events, the Virginia Senate has voted 24-14 to scuttle a bill that would have given fertilized eggs the same legal rights as people.The bill, HB 1, stated that life begins at conception and that fertilized eggs have all the rights and privileges of a person, which could effectively have banned abortion and some forms of contraception. In committee, the bill passed on 8-7 on strict party-line vote on the Republican-controlled committee. But when it got to the Senate floor, the vote was 24-14 to take it off the docket until next year.
Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax, proposed that House Bill 1, which had passed the Senate Education and Health Committee earlier today on an 8-7 party line vote, be sent back to the committee and carried over to the 2013 legislative session for further discussion and deliberation. [...]
The vote effectively kills the bill for the year.
"We are a laughingstock of the world because of things like this," said Sen. Mamie E. Locke, D-Hampton, who opposed the bill. "The individual rights of women are being challenged continuously," she said, calling the issue of a woman's pregnancy a matter between "them, their family and their doctor and their God."The impact of local and national opposition to the wacked-out proposals was appreciated by legislative Democrats:
A number of Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates tweeted their responses. Via Blue Virginia:
• Del. Mark Keam: "Very controversial GOP HB 1 "personhood" bill stopped in Senate on 24-16 bipartisan vote. #WinForWomen! Thanks to the public who spoke out!"
• Del. Scott Surovell: "VA Senate just killed "personhood' amendment for the year - glad they listened to The People."
• Del. Charniele Herring: "So, #personhood bill was re-referred to committee and carried over for the year. Thanks everyone & grassroots nation!"
After a year of seeing anti-abortion, anti-choice, anti-privacy, anti-woman bills pass again and again in 2011, it's a relief to see at least a couple of small victories. May they be replicated everywhere.