In a surprise vote the Virginia Senate has decided to refer the Personhood bill back to a Senate committee, which effectively kills the bill from consideration this year.
The Senate voted 24-14 against the controversial measure, which was widely criticized by pro-choice groups, thereby saving Gov. Bob McDonnell from having to make a difficult decision on the politically charged matter.
The Personhood bill would have defined life as starting at conception. The decision means the bill cannot be considered again until 2013.
Yesterday, Virginia’s controversial SB 484 was amended to no longer require a transvaginal ultrasound of all women seeking abortions. Arch-conservative Governor Bob McDonell and a handful of Republicans revised the bill so that it will now require an abdominal ultrasound instead. The state of Virginia will still require any woman seeking an abortion to get a medically unnecessary ultrasound and to have the image from that ultrasound permanently included in her medical record.
And while Virginia won’t consider Personhood until at least 2012, plenty of other states – Pennsylvania and Colorado among them – have Personhood amendments in the works.
All of this is to say, this is a small and important victory – and the second in a twenty-four hour span. But the fight for reproductive freedom is far from over.
These two Virginia bills, along with attacks on Planned Parenthood, and the attempt to remove birth control coverage from the Affordable Care Act are salvos in an ongoing war on women. Consider the death of this bill a battle won, but make no mistake: this is a war, and there are plenty of battles still left to fight.