VIRGINIA

Virginia 'personhood' abortion bill passes Senate committee

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A bill that would define life as starting at conception has been approved in a key Senate 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 passed after an amendment clarifying that no provision in it would restrict the use of federally approved contraception.

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.

The committee earlier approved a bill requiring pre-abortion external ultrasound exams. It was amended to eliminate ultrasounds requiring an invasive ultrasound probe.

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