Undaunted by the failure of similar initiatives across the country, Virginia legislator Bob Marshall has introduced a bill that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception.
As the law reads, unborn children at “every stage of development” would enjoy “all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the commonwealth.”
Marshall is known for being outspoken when it comes to abortion, but many pro-lifers find fault with personhood initiatives like his. Critics, including the group National Right to Life, say passage of such a bill could backfire, further strengthening Roe v. Wade.
A similar personhood initiative recently failed in Mississippi, despite a significant amount of support from state leaders — some of whom didn’t necessarily endorse it, but voted for it anyway.
In Georgia, two state lawmakers recently announced their intention to file similar measures, which would grant full individual rights to fertilized without the vague language of Mississippi’s Amendment 26. The leader of Florida’s Personhood affiliate told The Florida Independent that his group would begin a two-year push for a personhood bill in 2012, aiming for ballot placement on Florida’s 2014 ballot.