Virginia Senate approves right to sue for wrongful death of fetus


State Sens. Thomas A. Garrett Jr. (R-Louisa), left, Richard H. Stuart (R-Stafford), Sen. Richard Black (R-Loudoun) talk with committee council Steven Benjamin, right, during a meeting of the Senate Courts of Justice committee at the Capitol in Richmond. (Steve Helber/AP)

The Senate has been closely and fiercely divided on a number of abortion-related bills this General Assembly session, including a “personhood” bill that had sought to define life as beginning at conception.

But the wrongful death bill passed easily, despite warnings from some that was similar to the scuttled personhood legislation.

The House had already passed the bill, which now goes to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who has not publicly taken a position on it.

“The governor will review this bill when it is delivered to him,” press secretary Jeff Caldwell said.

The bill gives expectant parents the right to sue for the wrongful death of a fetus, but notes, “No cause of action for the death of the fetus may be brought against the natural mother of the fetus.”

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sens. Thomas A. Garrett of Louisa, Stephen H. Martin of Chesterfield and William M. Stanley of Franklin, passed 33-6.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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