Virginia shelves personhood bill

GlobalPost

The controversial Virginia bill that would have defined life as starting at the moment of conception is dead, according to the Associated Press.

The Senate voted 24-14 to send the bill back to committee, carrying it over to 2013 and stalling any action on it before the 2012 election.

The bill was endorsed hours earlier by the Senate Education and Health Committee with an 8-7 vote along party lines, with Democrats opposed. The Democratic leader of the Senate, Richard Saslaw, proposed the motion to shelve the bill, and Republican leader Tommy Norment agreed, saying more study was needed, said the AP.

Politico noted that a similar personhood bill was shot down in November in Mississippi by a referendum. If it had passed, it would have outlawed abortion completely, banning some forms of birth control.

A similar personhood bill passed the Oklahoma Senate on Feb. 15, by a wide 34-8 margin and was passed on to the state House which holds a Republican majority, according to Reuters.

More on GlobalPost: Personhood bill passes in Oklahoma Senate

This is the second time this week that Virginia pulled back from a controversial bill involving reproductive rights. The New York Times reported on how Gov. Robert McDonnell backed away last minute yesterday from signing a bill that would have required women seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, a measure which he initially supported.

“Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state,” McDonnell said in a statement.

More on GlobalPost: Virginia governor revokes support for ultrasound bill

The Atlantic noted that the bills put McDonnell in a tough spot of balancing appealing to a larger audience as a possible vice presidential candidate and still appeasing the hardcore conservatives in his state.

Despite the tough economy, abortion and birth control have become central topics during this election cycle, prompting the Republican candidates in the race to strive to prove their social conservatism.

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