RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Hundreds of women stood mute, arm-in-arm at the state capitol in protest of legislation now moving through the General Assembly.
Two bills in particular have stirred a lot of controversy. The personhood bill defines life at conception. The protesters fear this bill will radically alter abortion and birth control rights in Virginia.
The sidewalks in capitol square were lined with people. This protest was silent, but the message was loud and clear - not everyone supports the personhood bill.
Caroline Hoover was one of the nearly 1200 people that showed up.
"It's a thinly-veiled excuse to try to take control of a woman's body away from her and put it in the legislature, the government where it does not belong," she said.
Caroline and the other protesters say they're also rallying against another recent bill that requires a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion.
There was no shortage of pro-choice signs and T-shirts. Cindy Bennett even went as far as writing on her face.
"I think it's pretty embarrassing and pretty appalling. It makes me embarrassed to be a Virginian," said Bennett.
The personhood bill is already halfway to the governor's desk after passing in the House. Many of these protesters hope today is a wake-up call to other pro-choice activists.
"It's horrifying what they're trying to do and it's almost like they're trying to slip it past people. I've talked to a lot of people that don't know what's going on," Bennett added.
Delegate Bob Marshall is the man behind the personhood bill. He says this bill has nothing to do with abolishing abortion, birth control or in vitro fertilization. He says he feels the unborn deserve legal rights too.
"A lot of remedial reading courses are needed here because half, or more than half, of the people aren't reading the bill that are calling up and venting on me," Del. Marshall said.
Marshall says the bill would establish a framework for parents to sue someone who causes the death of their unborn child.
There was a large police presence to make sure this protest stayed peaceful. The protesters stood out here for about an hour and a half before going home.
The personhood bill passed by more than a two to one margin. It is now in a Senate committee. That committee will vote on it later this week.
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