Republicans cave to pressure, block personhood measure in Senate vote

Six Republicans joined Senate Democrats in effectively voting down legislation that would define “personhood” at conception and could in turn outlaw all abortions and some forms of FDA-approved birth control.

A 24-14 Senate vote returned the bill to a Senate committee for consideration in the 2013 General Assembly session. The vote was another defeat for social conservatives on the heels of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell recommending changes to a measure that would have required invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.

“I hope these guys get the message and stop trying repeal the 20th century. I’m tired of Virginia being compared to Mississippi. This kind of legislation is making our state a national embarrassment,” said State Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, a Democrat.

“The demise of this dangerous and unnecessary legislation is a victory for Virginia women and all people who believe the government has no place in decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor,” Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran said in a statement. “It would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, or the thousands of Virginians who recognized a radical and overreaching agenda when they see it and raised their voices day after day.

“By ending this issue for the year, Virginia’s women, families, and physicians scored a major victory,” remarked Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond). “Through petition, silent protest, calls, and letters, voices across the Commonwealth calling for an end to this attack on women’s rights were finally heard.”


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