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Stem Cell Action Coalition Opposes Virginia Personhood Bill
Date:2/23/2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Stem Cell Action Coalition opposes Virginia House Bill No.1, the so-called Virginia "personhood bill." The Virginia Senate Committee on Education and Health is scheduled to take the matter up this week.

The language of the personhood bill states, in part, that the laws of Virginia "shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of unborn children at every stage of development all of the rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents." The bill further states "unborn children shall include the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development."

HB 1 arguably would apply to every aspect of Virginia law thus profoundly impacting inheritance, adoption, guardianship, civil and criminal liability by according the same rights as adults and children to a single cell.

The personhood bill would surely interfere with reproductive and related rights of women and couples along several fronts.  These interferences include making it exceedingly difficult for couples in Virginia to seek in vitro fertilization as a means of creating families and donating for research IVF-created embryos not needed for implantation or not sufficiently healthy for implantation.  Moreover, the law would prevent the pursuit of medical research in Virginia that utilizes human embryonic stem cells.

In this twisted new world, Virginia researchers deriving embryonic stem cells from donated embryos might be charged with capital crimes, even murder. Couples donating embryos to research might be designated as accessories to these crimes. Microscopic embryos, consisting of a few cells in lab dishes or frozen in IVF clinics might be designated as wards of the state and by mandate have legal guardians appointed on their behalf.

Human embryonic stem cell research has been described by scientists as
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SOURCE The Stem Cell Action Coalition
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