A bill that would define life as starting at conception has been approved in a key Senate committee.
On Thursday in the Education and Health Committee, eight Republicans voted for the measure, and the committee's seven Democrats opposed it after an hour-long hearing on the bill that is similar to one in Missouri.
The bill has been championed by Prince William County delegate Bob Marshall.
It passed in committee Thursday after an amendment clarifying that no provision in it would restrict the use of federally approved contraception. You can read the text of the bill here, and the amendment here.
At least three times, the committee chairman, Sen. Steve Martin, threatened to have police remove opponents of the bill after they spoke out during debate.
The vote now sends the bill to the full Senate where Democrats and Republicans hold 20 seats apiece.
Virginia Democrats have reacted critically to the bill's advancement. Sen. Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said in a statement: "The Virginia state legislature is not a doctor. Republicans need to get their heads out of the exam room and the personal lives of Virginians. With two weeks left in the session, when will we start doing the work of the Commonwealth?”