While I've been frolicking around snowy Oxford (details and pictures to come soon, I promise!), my home state has been up to no good.
The Virginia House of Delegates voted today on a "Personhood" bill, which grants individual rights on an embryo from the moment of conception. It passed, so now it moves on to the Senate, where it will be a close vote but it's likely to pass. Bills like this are problematic for a whole wide range of reasons, but particularly because they could limit access to birth control and infertility treatments - after all, the pill and some other birth control methods can prevent fertilized eggs from implanting, which under this bill would be murder. In fact, the bill specifically says that it applies to contraception, not just abortion. Responding to these concerns, Republican Delegate Marshall, from my home county, said "Let's just say that the imaginations of the opponents are fertile, but their arguments are sterile. ... None of these stories that these ladies bring up about birth control being made illegal has ever happened.
Oh, those ladies and their stories. Haha. Funny. I love it when my concerns about access to medical treatment are dismissed and turned into puns. When a Democratic delegate tried to propose an amendment specifically excluding legal contraception, the House refused to take it up.
Meanwhile, the Senate advanced legislation which would include fetuses in wrongful death lawsuits. I like to imagine that they're thinking of women who are victims of violence and miscarry as a result, and want to give them some legal recourse for that loss. However, the South has a long tradition of prosecuting women for miscarrying under laws like this, so I can't imagine it will end well.
Virginia people, contact the General Assembly and tell them to reject both these ridiculous bills! We really don't need the reputation of being the first state in the nation to give embryos rights at pregnant women's expense!