HOUSE DEMOCRATS APPLAUD SENATE ACTION DEFEATING
'PERSONHOOD' BILL FOR THE 2012 SESSION
Richmond – Bowing to intense public pressure after a wave of negative national media attention, Republicans in the Senate this afternoon used a procedural motion to send HB1 – the controversial "personhood" bill that would confer legal rights to embryos at the moment of conception and could ban abortion and contraception – off the docket until at least next year on a 24-14 vote.
"By ending this issue for the year, Virginia's women, families, and physicians scored a major victory," remarked Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond). "Through petition, silent protest, calls, and letters, voices across the Commonwealth calling for an end to this attack on women's rights were finally heard."
"Too often this session, Republicans have put forth divisive, controversial bills without considering the full scope of unintended consequences they could bring," remarked Del. Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax). "In committee and on the floor, HB1's proponents were never able to ease our grave concerns about protecting in vitro fertilization or legal contraception."
"I applaud Republicans in the Senate for seeing the light on why this overreaching bill was wrong for Virginia," said House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville). "I hope that my Republican colleagues in the House – who passed this bill just last week – will come to agree in future sessions."
HB1 passed the House of Delegates 66-32 on February 14th. It cleared the Senate Education and Health Committee this morning along an 8-7 party-line vote after accepting an amendment that the House had earlier rejected. Today's action effectively kills the bill for the year.