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And Now "Personhood": VA Republicans "continue...to pass extreme bill after extreme bill"

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 11:24:36 AM EST


Virginia House Democrats sum up my feelings perfectly: "As if the events of yesterday weren't enough, legislative Republicans continue on their course to pass extreme bill after extreme bill." And, of course, Virginia "Republicans are completely out of step with the priorities of Virginia families." Not that they care, of course. Nor do they care that "personhood" is so extreme, that even the voters of deep, deep "red" Mississippi rejected it soundly this past November. Hopefully, Virginia voters will turn out in droves this November and reject these divisive-social-issues-all-the-time Republicans, along with their loony-tunes ideas, up and down the ballot here in Virginia as well.
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS DENOUNCES ADVANCEMENT OF OVERREACHING 'PERSONHOOD' BILL

Richmond - Continuing the General Assembly's month-long fixation with divisive social issues and restricting women's health, the Republican-led Senate Education and Health Committee today passed HB1 along an 8-7 party-line vote.  The bill, introduced by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), grants embryos legal "personhood" at the moment of conception and may outlaw abortion.  

The Senate did approve an amendment to the bill exempting birth control, but that amendment failed in the House on a 64 to 34 vote when introduced by Del. Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) last week.  HB1 now heads to the Senate floor, where Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling can break ties in the evenly-divided chamber.

"As if the events of yesterday weren't enough, legislative Republicans continue on their course to pass extreme bill after extreme bill," said Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond).  "Neither common sense, medical fact, nor public opinion seems able to sway Republicans from enacting the most overreaching legislation possible."

lowkell :: And Now "Personhood": VA Republicans "continue...to pass extreme bill after extreme bill"
"The priorities of House and Senate Republicans are completely out of step with the priorities of Virginia families," remarked Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (D-Franconia). "I wish we had spent as much time on transportation and education as we have on divisive social issues."

The Republican-led House of Delegates passed the "personhood" bill on a 66-34 vote last week.  If the bill emerges from the full Senate, it will head to Gov. McDonnell, who described himself yesterday as someone who believes governments have a duty to protect "innocent human life."                      
At the same committee, Senate Republicans also advanced HB462, the medically-unnecessary ultrasound bill that passed the House last week prior to a national uproar.  

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Good for Jon Stewart (0.00 / 0)
And Rachel and Ed and Al, etc.  I hope they cover this nonsense as well as they did SB484. So much for the "small government" crowd.

VA GOP General Assembly (0.00 / 0)
GUNS, GOD, GAYS, AND GESTATION

But jobs, not so much.


Senate Dems: "Republicans subvert the will of the Commonwealth" on "Personhood" (0.00 / 0)
Senate Republicans Disregard Virginia Women, Vote for Personhood

Republicans subvert the will of the Commonwealth - House Bill 1 opposed by a majority of Virginians

Republican legislators today voted in lock step for House Bill 1, the "personhood bill," which declares that life begins at conception. HB 1 is a top priority of Virginia Republicans, who are pushing this divisive legislation upon a public that does not want it. Since they claimed a majority the electorate did not give them, Republicans have been taking Virginia backwards with a mean-spirited social agenda that targets women and minorities and hard-working Virginians.

Senator Maime E. Locke (D-Hampton) said, "This bill is insidious and it is beginning a process that will take this Commonwealth backwards. The individual rights of the woman are being challenged continuously. For those of us who feel that women are smart enough to make their own decisions about their body, this bill is abominable."

Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, "The Republicans are turning Virginia into the laughingstock of the country. If a fetus is a person, can a pregnant woman use HOV lanes? The Virginia state legislature is not a doctor. Republicans need to get their heads out of the exam room and the personal lives of Virginians. With two weeks left in the session, when will we start doing the work of the Commonwealth?"

Advocates of this legislation claim that HB 1 merely creates a legal cause of action in the event of the wrongful death of the fetus. But this is not the case. Not only does HB 1 demean women, it threatens to criminalize in vitro fertilization treatments that many Virginia families depend on to start a family. One in eight Virginians is infertile, and HB 1 could make fertilization treatments illegal. Moreover, the law could hold women and their doctors accountable for the loss of a pregnancy. And even during natural conception, only 20% of fertilized eggs implant in the uterine wall.

The vote in the Education and Health committee today sends HB 1 to the Virginia Senate, which is expected to pass the measure. Since the House has already passed HB 1, the personhood bill will land on Governor Bob McDonnell's desk. We hope he has heard the loud voices of the majority of Virginians.



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The 80% (0.00 / 0)
If estimates that only 20% of fertilized eggs implant in the uterine wall and develop, does that mean that God or Mother Nature or Chance (whichever you believe in) commits murder 80% of the time?  

[ Parent ]
Not murder, necessarily but tremendous waste (0.00 / 0)
This has always been my argument -- if every being as a soul from the moment of conception, then God is a tremendous waster of souls.  

I do have to say that I've done huge amounts of research on this, and the number is actually closer to 50% of fertilized eggs do not reach implantation.   (Still an enormous number.)  But a large percentage of those (up to 25% of well established pregnancies) will, unfortunately, not develop and will naturally miscarry as well, which is where the 80% number likely comes from.

(If someone would like to point out where the 80% statistic came from, I'd like to know it, because I discuss this topic with people all of the time -- it often comes out of discussion from my first novel.  If I'm incorrect, I want to be sure to have the correct data.)


[ Parent ]
I've also heard (0.00 / 0)
The 50% figure - I've never heard 80% before, that seems awfully high to me.  

As for God and souls, we need to also remember that some of those implanted embryos actually become two or more persons by the time they are born.


[ Parent ]
Here's a piece (0.00 / 0)
From Discover that uses the 80% figure - though as a high estimate: http://discovermagazine.com/20...

[ Parent ]
Thank you! (0.00 / 0)
I still think the 80% is pretty high (as I think would most scientists and physicians), but it is good to know where some of the information might be coming from.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's apparently the "reasoning." (0.00 / 0)
Whatever.

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[ Parent ]
A Question for Bob Marshall (0.00 / 0)
If a fertilized egg is a human being, does every pregnant woman get two tax exemptions?


An even better question... (0.00 / 0)
Does she get 2 votes?

[ Parent ]
Miscarriage (0.00 / 0)
This is something we need to remember, as we talk about this bill.  One in five women will miscarry during her childbearing years.  One in four established (ie, implanted and developing) pregnancies will result in a miscarriage.  Miscarriage has a very uneasy place in our culture, as any woman who has had one will tell you.  People are uncomfortable talking about them with you.  No one knows what to call a 10 week old pregnancy that didn't make it -- him?  her?  it?  For some women, it is a significant of an event as losing a child (and I've talked with many women who have lost children and miscarried, so I'm not being hyperbolic here.)  Many religious women truly believe that their baby is waiting for them in heaven.

But then you also have women for whom the experience is more nuanced.  They lost the baby they held in their minds, more than the one they carried.  They will tell you that it was more like ending a pregnancy than it was losing a child.  Doesn't mean it didn't hurt, didn't profoundly disappoint, just that even religious women who have experienced the event this way aren't comfortable with their "angel babies."  (For what it's worth, this was me.)

And then there are women for whom the miscarriage is a huge relief.  Perhaps this was someone for whom another pregnancy was a terrible burden, emotionally, financially, or the toll it could take on the woman and her family.  I have spoken with many a pro-life woman who has told me that while she would never get an abortion, she was relieved that the pregnancy did not survive.  Many have told me that it was "God's will" this way.  Whether they have babies waiting for them in heaven is not nearly as important as what they needed here on earth.

Anyway, I bring all of this up, because if the personhood bill becomes law, I want to know how we are going to handle miscarriages?  Are we going to force women into hospitals?  Some women choose to do that, but it was important to me to take care of myself and my loss within the privacy of my own home.  Would I have to somehow "prove" my pregnancy loss to someone?  Would I be questioned to make sure that I hadn't harmed my pregnancy to the point of loss?  Would the women, for whom this experience is devastating, be questioned by doctors?  Police?  An ethics board?  But without such questioning, how could this possibly be enforced?

So I'd like to ask a very simple question -- if you or someone you know has had a miscarriage, as them how they would like to be treated following that, and whether that is possible under a bill like this one.  And then please explain it to me.  Because I don't see how it can be done.  


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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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