Thursday, February 3, 2011

HB1440 The “Personhood” Amendment

The following is a post from my friend, and Virginia Gentleman Contributor, Tyler Bamberg

"Awaiting a vote in the Courts of Justice Committee is HB1440 Introduced by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas). This  bill is designed to specifically add unborn children at the point of conception to be considered as a “person” under state law. More than 150 anti-abortion activists rallied at Capitol Square on Thursday to urge Gov. Bob McDonnell to support abortion clinic regulations such as HB1428 and other “pro-life” bills such as HB1440.
Some pro-choice opposition states that there are some serious implications to be considered in this bill. To change the legal definition of “person” can be dangerous. Pro-Choice critics ask “at what point does an unborn child become an unborn child in this bill?” Well as this bill reads in section § 5. “
“As used in this section, the term "unborn children" or "unborn child" shall include all unborn child or children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.” And it starts in section § 1 by stating “The life of each human being begins at conception.” 
One pro-choice person who opposed the bill wrote on the below arguments
cindi writes: “Will Virginia add a "Fetus" to their health insurance pool? Is the usage of a condom pre meditated murder? How about birth control pills, do you consider the usage of those pre meditated murder? If life begins at conception any means to prevent that life would be murder. . .This bill is ludicrous.”
                Well let’s step back and take a look at these arguments. As weird at it may seem actually yes, you very well may and should be able to get insurance. However, what you casually call a “fetus” I call a child. Section § 3. States “The natural parents of unborn children have protect-able interests in the life, health, and well-being of their unborn child.” Yes, as the natural parents you could get insurance just like any of your other children. Next, is the use of a condom and/or birth control pills pre-meditated murder?  Obviously this one wasn’t very well thought out as an argument as the answer is No and is clearly stated in section § 1. The life of each human being begins at conception. If life starts at conception then obviously if you use a condom you haven’t killed anything, conception has not occurred yet.  If anything this bill will help to force people to make smarter choices about safer sex practices and birth control.
The end of her argument states “If life begins at conception any means to prevent that life would be murder. . .This bill is ludicrous.”  Incorrect, you cannot kill something that does not exist yet therefore safe sex practices are still not murder. If her statement was correct that would mean every time a male tries to inseminate a woman and the sperm does not fertilize the egg , the mother (being responsible for her body) is guilty of committing murder!. Obviously that isn’t true and is quite a ridiculous notion.…
I support people like the Bearing Drift who support this 'Person hood' amendment. We all believe that life begins at conception and that this life should be protected.
This bill needs to be passed. Please contact the members of the Courts of Justice Committee to vote for HB 1440, by 3:00 PM, Friday, February 4.  Thank you."


Anonymous said...

This guys has nailed the issue on the head. Very well written and unique argument. Look forward to more postings like this!

Randy Williams said...

You couldn't be closer to hitting the nail on the head!! Great article and I'm glad to see and support your position on the very sensitive but critical matter. God bless His unborn children!

The Virginia Gentleman said...

Tyler wrote a great piece. I hope he will continue writing on this site.

Jarod Doak said...

You bring up some interesting points in your article. But what about health risks and concerns. If you have AIDES, is it fair to bring the child into the world with AIDES, he or she didn't ask for that. Or if you were raped, is there some genetic traits that will harbor yet another rapist?

John said...

What about issues that arise from In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

In IVF eggs and sperm are taken from the couple and a number of preembryos are produced. They are then inserted into the woman in the hopes they implant. Quite often there are eggs left over.

Suppose the parents have the number of children they want and would be unable to donate them to another couple because they would still feel obligated to any children that result. Would you force the woman to conceive? Would you use the coercive power of the state to remove the preembryos from the couple to hand them to another couple and thereby force the original couple to become parents? Either way the couples liberty would be violated.

Further, there are the situations that arise from ectopic pregnancies. That is where the fetus develops inside the fallopian tube or even outside the uterus entirely. Allowed to develop on it's own will result in the death of both the child and the mother. Sometimes they are able to carry the child past the 25th week and birth the child early to give it the best chance of survival, but sometimes not. Preventing abortions in these instances can be a death sentence for some women.

If you would grant citizenship at conception then these are questions you are going to have to face. I am interested to see how you would answer them.

It may interest you to know how issues arising from IVF have been handled by the supreme courts of 6 states. Tennessee (Davis v. Davis) 1992, New York (Kass v. Kass) 1998, Massachusetts (A.Z. v .B.Z.) 2000, New Jersey (J.B. v. M.B) 2000, Washington (Litowitz v. Litowitz) 2002, and Texas (Roman v. Roman) 2006.

Rita said...

Great piece! Thanks for bringing attention to this bill, which is on the floor of the House for a vote TODAY! To answer the questions from the last comment:

1. Section 7 of the bill specifically precludes it from having any affect on IVF or other "lawful assisted conception."

2. Abortion law is left unchanged by the bill, so the ectopic pregnancy situation would not be affected. Virginia's existing abortion statutes will still govern abortion. Period.

Steve said...

I'm concerned when I see this type of bill put forward and ask an obvious question I don't see raised here. What of the woman? Doesn't this type of legislation further marginalize her? And where in the constitution do we find words authorizing us to commandeer women's wombs? It is her womb we're controlling from conception isn't it?

John Brill said...


I take it then that you are fine with the bill recognizing that not all moment's of conception are conceived equal.

Morally speaking, however, moment of conception is moment of conception whether it occurred within the womb or without.

If granting personhood in some instances of conception is something deserving of an exception then why exactly is it something to mandate in other instances?