'Personhood' bill killed in Virginia

'Personhood' bill killed in Virginia

It's been one of the biggest, most contentious issues in Virginia's legislative session this year—the so-called “personhood” bill.

It would have defined life as the beginning being at conception—but, the bill was killed Thursday in Richmond.

Now, Republican Delegate Bob Marshall is lashing out at his own party's leaders.

This comes just one day after the governor changed his stance on another controversial, abortion- related bill.

Marshall—who is running for U.S. Senate—is not toeing the party line. Instead, he says the governor got cold feet on the two issues which were getting a lot of national attention.

"You could not do this without this somehow going up to the top,” Prince William County Republican Marshall said.

Marshall says the governor was behind a calculated effort to kill his personhood bill.

“What do you think is motive is for backing off of this? You'd have to ask the governor, he didn't want to answer me,” he said.

A day after Bob McDonnell withdrew support for a bill requiring trans-vaginal ultrasounds prior to an abortion—the Senate’s Republican leadership killed Marshall’s bill giving embryos full legal protection.

“People are going to wonder what is the meaning of the republican platform with all these platitudes in there about a right to life but when the time comes to do something, they get cold feet,” Marshall said.

The legislation drew protests this week and became the butt of jokes on national programs like Jon Stewart's 'The Daily Show.'

Stewart mocked Marshall's opposition to healthcare reform—while backing forced ultrasounds.
“Can he read the English language? Can he understand these words? Apparently not. He just shoots arrows at people, doesn't give people a chance to respond and he calls this fair play,” Marshall said.

Sean Holihan, a member of the State Democratic Party and Alexandria council candidate says it was that national spotlight that forced McDonnell's change of heart.

"You cannot be a candidate for the vice presidency if you're a national laughingstock,” Holihan, who is a pro-choice activist, said.

State democrats have called the GOP’s agenda a values crusade

“The Virginia General Assembly this year instead of focusing on jobs and small businesses has been solely focused on taking away a woman's reproductive rights,” Holihan said.