Virginia To Consider Bill That Would Make The State’s Stance: ‘Life Begins At Conception’


Months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and left abortion access to be determined by individual states, Virginians don’t know what could come next for the Commonwealth.

In the midterm elections, abortion was a hot topic among many candidates.

After Gov. Glenn Youngkin supported a 15-week abortion ban, the topic will be discussed on the General Assembly floor.

Some Virginia lawmakers want to restrict abortion access by changing the state’s stance on when life begins during pregnancy.

It’s a big debate to set as a premise for abortion restrictions among some state leaders.

State Del. Marie March (R-District 7) filed House Bill No. 1395. In it, she calls for state leaders to view the beginning of life as the moment of conception or when an egg is fertilized.

It says, “Life begins at conception, and each person is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of Virginia, and the laws of the Commonwealth beginning at the moment of conception.”

If voted and passed, this new definition would essentially make abortions illegal in the Commonwealth.

“In terms of that split government, will this policy move forward? Most likely not,” said Ben Melusky, ODU Political Science assistant professor. “Would a 15-week ban move forward? Or something similar… that’s where things get a little interesting.”

Melusky said a bill to this end of the argument will likely stall in the General Assembly. However, he said it could act as a stepping stool for other restriction proposals, including Youngkin’s 15-week ban.

“It makes that bill look less extreme, right?” Melusky said. “So, it essentially gives some legislators a little bit of cover by saying, ‘I voted down this more extreme bill, but I voted for this more compromised bill.'”

Melusky said with the House of Delegates controlled by Republicans by only four seats and the State Senate controlled by Democrats by only two seats; it’s unclear exactly how the discussion over abortion access will go.

He said that’s why the special elections to fill the seats of late Rep. Don McEachin, and Congresswoman-elect Jen Kiggins are so essential. He said voting one way or the other could determine who holds those seats and, eventually, who votes on how Virginians access abortion.

Those special elections will happen shortly before the 2023 legislative session, which begins on Jan. 11 and will last 30 days.

“In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and despite the vast majority of Virginians who oppose it, Virginia’s anti-abortion elected officials keep proving there are no limits to their extremism and true intentions to ban abortion for all Virginians.

Delegate Marie March (R-7 ) has made it her mission to bring the most extreme version of an abortion ban to the Commonwealth. Delegate March’s bill, HB1395, puts the lives of pregnant people at risk and strips them of control over their bodies. This bill also bans access to critical forms of contraception, such as IUDs.

It is a stunning display of ignorance regarding contraception and pregnancy, further supporting the notion that politicians aren’t medical experts and shouldn’t interfere in people’s medical decisions. This bill also does not allow any medical intervention for miscarriage, fetal anomalies, or health implications for the pregnant person. This is an example of the callous, restrictive, and dangerous legislation that seeks to control every aspect of a person’s reproductive decision-making. Extremist politicians want to take away your freedom to make medical decisions and to control your own body and life path.

The bill is a total ban on abortion. It also bans some of the most effective forms of contraception, including IUDs. Access to IUDs and other contraceptive methods are critical for many reasons, including but not limited to preventing pregnancy, controlling fertility, regulating hormones, and treating reproductive health conditions. Banning safe and effective forms of contraception is harmful and ultimately takes away a person’s ability to control their reproductive health. The harm of forced pregnancy falls hardest on those already failed by our health system, especially those working to make ends meet in BIPOC communities. This is what taking freedom away from people and families looks like. This is not what 77% of Virginia voters want.

Virginians want the ability to make their own decisions about their lives and futures. This is government overreach at its worst and most dangerous. Delegate Marie March, Governor Youngkin, and Speaker Todd Gilbert are completely out of touch with what Virginians want, and this bill makes that crystal clear.”