If passed, the bill would require the Department of Transportation to create a process in which pregnant people may show "proof of pregnancy” in order to certify the pregnancy and have it "linked" to toll collection devices such as E-Z Pass, NBC News reported.
According to The Hill, it is the second bill of its nature to be introduced in the country following the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
A similar proposal was made in Texas that permitted pregnant women to drive in high-occupancy vehicle lanes. But while the Texas bill was proposed, it never advanced. It followed an incident in which a woman was ticketed for driving in the HOV lane. After receiving the ticket, she argued to officers that her unborn child counted as a second person in the car.
Her story quickly went viral, creating discussion of whether a fetus did actually count as a person or not in some states. This was following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade since many state laws claimed a fetus counted as a life. Several arguments by anti-abortion activists argue that unborn children should have the same rights as the ones already born.
Like Texas' HB 521, Virginia's HB 1894 is unlikely to advance in the state’s legislature.
But while it is unlikely to pass, it is important to acknowledge the attempts Republicans are continuously making in an attempt to limit reproductive rights by establishing a fetus as a person.
"Anti-abortion groups have been looking for ways to change laws in ways that change the definition of a pregnant person from one person to two," said Elizabeth Nash, an expert on state legislation at the Guttmacher Institute, NBC News reported.
"By doing that, they grant personhood throughout pregnancy. And by considering a pregnant person as two people — in this case, allowing a pregnant person to use an HOV lane — you're ultimately making it harder to uphold abortion rights, because you have essentially imbued a fetus with personhood," Nash added.
According to The Guttmacher Institute, while only two bills focusing on vehicle occupant regulations involving fetuses have been proposed across the country, at least eight states have introduced bans on abortion by establishing fetal personhood.
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