Virginia State Senate backs away from 'personhood' bill

One day after Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnellbacked off a controversial effort to require women to undergo invasive ultrasounds before they can have  abortions, the state Senate on Thursday stalled progress on a “personhood” bill that has also sparked intense controversy.

The bill would have granted a fertilized egg the same legal protections as a person, making abortions and possibly some forms of contraception illegal. It would take effect only if the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortions were overturned, according to The Associated Press.

The bill had passed the General Assembly and was approved earlier in the day by a Senate committee. But the Senate voted 24-14 to send the measure back to committee, effectively shelving it until 2013.

Similar “personhood” efforts  have failed in a number of states. Most recently, a proposed constitutional amendment in Mississippi – considered by some the country’s most conservative state – failed last year. Colorado voters have twice rejected similar proposed amendments.

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