Virginia House OKs Bill Saying Life Begins at Conception

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 13, 2012   |   3:47PM   |   Richmond, VA

The Virginia state House approved today a bill that says human life begins at conception, or fertilization, sponsored by pro-life state Rep. Bob Marshall.

Last week, the Courts of Justice Commit­tee voted 14-4 to send the state delegate’s bill to the House floor and the bill received approval from the full House today. A similar bill was approved in the state House last year but was killed in a state Senate Committee run by pro-abortion Democrats.

“HB 1 recognizes that human life begins at conception and also declares that unborn children and their parents have protectable legal interests,” Marshall said in an email to LifeNews. “The immediate effect of HB 1 will be to create a civil cause of action for the wrongful death of an unborn child to enable parents to sue a third party for damages if he or she wrongfully causes the death of their unborn baby either through assault or negligence. Such legal protection exists in many states.  But Virginia does not allow civil legal recourse if the baby is not “born alive.”  My bill will correct this, while acknowledging the humanity of the preborn child.”

“Those who oppose my bill have said the bill will allow prosecutions for abortionists, miscarriages, and oral contraception, but an almost identical law has been on the books in Missouri for more than 25 years and was left standing by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1989 decision, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services,” Marshall added. “None of these circumstances have come to pass in all these years.”

Since HB 1 is not a criminal law, it will not affect the current practice of abortion but it will in fact recognize that unborn children are human beings, Marshall said.

“Ultimately this will lead to the question of how and why our laws can justly sanction the destruction of preborn children,” he said.

Katherine Greenier, head of women’s rights program at the ACLU of Virginia, vigorously opposed the bill, saying to AP: “The bill’s purpose is to ban abortions in the common­wealth. This bill is not necessary to provide a cause of action for the wrongful death of a fetus.”

Tarina Keene of NARAL also opposed the bill calling it “out of touch with Virginians’ values.”