BREAKING: Key VA Senate committee passes Personhood bill

Virginia’s Personhood bill now moves to the full Virginia Senate. ABC7 in Richmond reports:

A bill that would define life as starting at conception has been approved in a key Senate committee.

Eight Republicans voted for the measure, and the committee’s seven Democrats opposed it after an hour-long hearing on the bill that is similar to one in Missouri.

The bill passed after an amendment clarifying that no provision in it would restrict the use of federally approved contraception.

At least three times, the committee chairman, Sen. Steve Martin, threatened to have police remove opponents of the bill after they spoke out during debate.

There are only twenty Democrats in the Virginia Senate, so this bill looks pretty sure to pass.

I want to reiterate what I said on “Melissa Harris-Perry” last weekend: when we talk about giving fetuses Constitutional rights, we are talking about the government forcing women to give birth. Also, it would outlaw most forms of hormonal birth control! Way to go, Virginia!

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Sarah

    Despite the claim that it will not restrict federally-approved contraception, giving “personhood” to a fertilized egg does in fact conflict with Plan B contraception, which prevents a potential fertilized egg from becoming implanted in the womb, and thus, becoming a pregnancy.

    Defining a fertilized egg as a “person” would also be at odds with in vitro fertilization procedures, whereby embryos are created and – at times – unused or destroyed.

    I believe this also conflicts with the functionality of intra-uterine devices.

    If a woman miscarries, is she now going to be at risk of criminal investigation?

    This is outrageous in so many ways.

  • Sarah

    And, can someone explain to me how this relates to the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade? (Assuming this passes), can a woman in Virginia sue the state?

  • Chris Aldridge

    The more the GOP does things like this, the more they screw themselves. They are living in a fantasy world where most people like their personal lives being invaded. Things like this will kick the GOP out of power in November. I am against most abortions because abortion is mostly used as a form of birth control. You should not be able to kill your baby just because it’s an inconvenience. However, sometimes abortion becomes necessary when the woman’s life is in danger or if she is raped. This personhood bill does not target what it should target. Instead, it’s going to cause the deaths of women due to pregnancy complications to sky rocket. It’s as if they cannot embrace logic and facts at all. I wonder if it’s not a plan to bring women down.