Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), one of the most outspoken legislators on abortion issues, filed a so-called personhood bill for the upcoming legislative session, which will begin in January.
The bill provides that “unborn children at every stage of development 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.”
The introduction comes less two weeks after voters in Mississippi rejected a similar ballot measure.
Many Virginia Republicans have said they are eager to revive socially conservative legislation that stalled or died in a Democratic-controlled Senate, now that both chambers are controlled by the GOP.
The bill was immediately criticized by Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, who said the legislation would outlaw abortion and could ban common forms of birth control.
“We have no doubt that this is just the beginning of an all-out series of legislative attacks on women’s freedom and privacy,’’ Keene said. “This agenda is out of touch with our commonwealth’s values and priorities-and we will fight it every step of the way.”