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The adoption of House Bill 462 into law brings forth questions about the probable impact on the physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being of the women in Virginia. In particular, analysis of its effect on the minority and underserved female population is required. Understanding the origin of this new legislation and the thinking behind its proposal and subsequent adoption dictates an endeavor into the backgrounds and intended goals of its sponsors and supporters. Proponents of HB 462 were unresponsive to requests for an interview to expound on their perspective about the importance of the legislation. This precipitated the use of media clips from televised political discussions and newspaper articles to acquire direct quotes in an effort to gain insight into their position. Legislation of morality emerged as the key them from the research materials assembled. This belief is shared by many who oppose the law.
The Supreme Court put forth the following as the reasoning behind its decision, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code...at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Opponents of HB 462 regard the law as contrary to the decision. If, in fact, this legislation is not intended to impose the morality of its sponsors on all Virginians, as the research suggests, it is probable that it will have a disparate impact on the minority and underserved segment of the population.
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VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Publications