STATEMENT OF DELEGATE BOB MARSHALL, PATRON OF HB 1541, DURING THE 2003 SESSION OF THE VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The most fundamental purpose of government is to protect human lives. The court did that here.

It is telling that it was Virginia's Thomas Jefferson, who criticized abortion in his Notes on Virginia, and who affirmed in the Declaration of Independence that the first natural right of persons is the right to life which comes directly from God, when he wrote that, "all men are created equal," and that Jefferson didn't say all men are born equal for a reason.

I wanted a law that upheld the right to life of children near birth, would expand the legal protections previously denied such children by other federal court decisions, and which would be constitutional.

Delegate Marshall concluded his statement by quoting from the concurring opinion of Judge J. Harvie Wilkerson:

The fact is that we — civilized people — are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder.