Virginia delegate files bill to criminalize sex-selective abortions

Posted at 11:38 AM, Oct 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-17 11:38:49-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall has introduced a bill that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus.

This comes just months after the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a similar measure that would have imposed fines and prison terms on doctors who knowingly performed an abortion on a woman trying to select the gender of their offspring.

Pre-filed on Oct. 3, House Bill 1316 would make performing a sex-selective abortion a class 4 felony. The bill would also require women seeking an abortion sign a form stating they acknowledge their doctor could be prosecuted for performing a sex-selective abortion.

The bill presented in the U.S. House of Representatives was killed on May 31 of this year, falling short of the two-thirds majority it required to pass, with a vote of 246 to 168.

Supporters of the federal legislation argue that sex-selective abortions do occur in the U.S., and that legislation is required to protect the rights of unborn children.

Opponents characterize it as the latest in a series of assaults on women’s reproductive rights, and part of a so-called “war on women.”

Del. Bob Marshall is no stranger to controversy–particularly when it comes to the topic of women’s reproductive rights. During the last General Assembly session, Marshall introduced a controversial “personhood bill” that would have provided rights to fetuses–some say thereby outlawing abortion in the state. Although the senate voted down the legislation, it’s introduction resulted in several protests on capitol grounds.