Virginia Bill Redefining the Term ‘Child’ (HB 556)
This law was last updated on Jun 29, 2016
HB 556 would amend § 18.2-371.1 of the Code of Virginia regarding the abuse and neglect of children to include a viable fetus under the definition of “child.”
With this change, a pregnant woman may face charges if she engages in behavior deemed risky to the fetus. For example:
- The bill would make it a Class 4 felony for a parent or guardian to cause serious injury to the life or health of a viable fetus.
- The bill would make it a Class 6 felony for a parent or guardian who shows reckless disregard for human life in their actions or omissions with a viable fetus.
The bill would not apply to any injury to a fetus resulting from the performance of a lawful abortion.