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HUNDREDS OF PRO-CHOICE VIRGINIANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST “PERSONHOOD”, SEN. MARTIN TO LET H.B.1 DIE
Last week, in less than 48 hours, more than 700 pro-choice Virginians took time out of their Thanksgiving holiday to urge Senate Education and Health Committee Chairman Sen. Steve Martin (R-11) to pull the infamous and dangerous "personhood” bill from the committee’s agenda. After the outpouring of opposition, state Sen. Martin has indicated his committee will not hear H.B.1 before the November 29th deadline. Without a hearing the bill, which passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate Education and Health Committee during the 2012 General Assembly session, effectively expires.
"This is a huge victory for the women of Virginia,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "I am extremely grateful for the hundreds of Virginians who fought back against extreme ‘personhood’ legislation, and I am relieved that some Virginia legislators have finally decided to listen to the people they represent.”
Unfortunately, Virginians will still have to face continued attacks on women’s rights and health during the 2013 General Assembly session. Personhood advocate and bill patron, Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) has already pre-filed several bills to limit access to reproductive health services and infringe upon a women’s right to control her own body, including legislation to slash insurance coverage of birth control – used by approximately 1.5 million Virginian women. He could even resurrect the personhood bill in the upcoming session despite the wishes of his own party; he has suggested he may do so. Regardless of the wild unpopularity of these legislative attacks on women’s health and the upcoming 2013 elections, Del. Marshall has indicated he will continue his anti-choice crusade – even attaching amendments to unrelated legislation, if necessary.
"It is extremely disappointing that Del. Marshall continues to reject Virginians values, priorities, and needs to push his own ideological agenda,” said Keene continued. "Earlier this month Virginia voters spoke loud and clear when they told politicians that they would not stand for continued attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will remain vigilant in opposing any legislation, amendment, or regulation that puts political ideology before the health and lives of Virginians. I assure you – and as Virginia’s 13 point gender gap in this past month’s election indicates – women did not stand for it this year, and they will not stand for it in 2013.”