Personhood in Virginia

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 15 2012 2:43 PM

Personhood in Virginia

Back on Monday, Anita Kumar reported on the passage of personhood legislation in Virginia's House of Delegates. Since Republicans narrowly took the state Senate in 2011, and since the bill has one Democratic co-sponsor -- and because only the U.S. Senate is nutty enough to have 60 percent supermajority rules -- passage here is looking more like a fait accompli.

The text of the bill is revealing; we can see what the Personhood movement has learned since getting shellacked in an up-or-down Mississippi referendum.

As used in this section, the term "unborn children" or "unborn child" shall include any unborn child or children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.
Advertisement

Not much wiggle room there. An amendment that would have exempted birth control was offered, but defeated.

"Scientists and doctors define the beginning of a pregnancy as the moment when the egg and sperm implant in the uterus," says Judy Waxman, vice president for health and reproductive rights at the Women's Health Law Center. "Taken literally, under this law, any kinds of birth control that stop implementation would then be murder."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.