A Virginia bill would count a pregnant person’s fetus as a passenger in a vehicle. Thereby allowing the vehicle to use the vehicle pull lane on the highway.
Reproductive rights activists say the law is a . Veiled attempt by anti-abortion Republican. Lawmakers to further curtail abortion rights through. The so-called Personhood Act, which seeks to protect. The rights of the unborn through unconventional means.
HB 1894, which a Republican legislator pre-filed in the General Assembly on Tuesday. “provides that high occupancy vehicles on state expressways. And a pregnant woman in high occupancy toll lanes must be considered. two persons for purposes of determining occupancy”.
The law requires pregnant people to show “proof” of pregnancy. Which is obtained by “certifying” their pregnancy to the state Department of Transportation. Under the bill, the credentials would.
Then be “linked” to toll collection devices — E-Z passes — on vehicles.
The bill is the second of its kind proposed; Last year. The Texas Republican introduced a similar measure. Texas’s HB 521 also would have allowed a single pregnant driver to use the high occupancy lane. Suggesting that carrying an unborn child amounts. To a person entitled to full human rights.
Lawmakers proposed the bill — which never advanced in the GOP-controlled Legislature. — After a pregnant Dallas woman made headlines for arguing to police officers. That her unborn child counted as the second person in the car. When she was pulled over for using the car pool. street
High occupancy lanes must drivers to have. At least one passenger in their vehicle when using the lane.
Like Texas’ HB 521. Virginia’s HB 1894 is unlikely to advance in the state’s divided legislature.
Still, reproductive rights advocates warn. That the bill is the latest attempt by anti-abortion. Republicans to curtail abortion rights by pushing. “personhood” laws that aim to establish a system that equates a fetus with a human life.
“Giving legal rights to fertilized eggs.
From the moment of conception would have widespread. And harmful consequences for people across the board. ” Said Tarina Keen, executive director of Repro Rising Virginia. A reproductive rights group. They could include a “huge” impact on stem cell research. And the independence of in vitro fertilization, he added.
Such a measure, other advocates warn. Would help limit access to abortion by defining the fetus as a person.
“Anti-abortion groups are looking for ways to change the law in a way. That changes the definition of a pregnant person from one to two.” Said Elizabeth Nash, a state law expert at the Gottmacher Institute. A research and policy organization. Works to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“By doing that, they give personhood to pregnancy. And by treating a pregnant person as two people — in this case. Allowing a pregnant person to use an HOV lane. — You end up making it harder to maintain abortion rights. Because you have binds a fetus to personality,” adds Nash.
The Virginia bill’s sponsor, Republican Del.
Nicolas Freitas, did not respond to questions about his law.
According to Guttmacher, who tracks state laws to curtail or ban. Abortion rights, the Texas and Virginia bills are the only privacy bills. Targeting car pool lanes introduced in the United States.
Last year, but, legislators across the country introduced eight bills. That would or ban abortions by establishing the personhood of the fetus. According to Guttmacher.
One, in Arizona, was enacted: A 15-week. Abortion ban was signed into law by then-Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican. Included a provision, taken from a 2021 law. That reproductive rights advocates say gives a fetus personhood. A federal judge blocked the provision in July.
Despite the Virginia bill’s limited chances of progress. Reproductive rights advocates besides warned. That even the idea of such a personhood bill could. At some point, lead to “unreasonable” new regulations. And laws on anything that has rules of possession.
“When you’re talking about creating possession and that kind of thing. you’re creating this legal nightmare about the number,” Keen said.
“It can have implications for how many people are in an elevator,” he added.