Abortion foes renew legislative push for ban

January 16th, 2007


By Dave Williams
Staff Writer – Gwinnett Daily Post

ATLANTA — Abortion opponents came to the Capitol Tuesday with a new weapon in a fight they have waged for years: affidavits from women who say they’ve suffered irreparable harm from having the procedure. “Abortion hurts women physically and psychologically,” Linda Schlueter, vice president of The Justice Foundation, a Texas-based anti-abortion group, testified during an informal hearing on a House bill outlawing abortion. “That is the reality these women arespeaking.”

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, virtually bans abortion in Georgia. Its lone exception would be in cases involving the death of an unborn child that occurs after a doctor makes a “medically justified” effort to save the lives of both the mother and fetus.

Since taking complete control of the General Assembly two years ago, Republicans have pushed through legislation requiring a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. Lawmakers also have debated a bill mandating that doctors give women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before deciding whether to have the procedure. But the legislature has stopped short of attempting to reverse the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand. Franklin, a longtime abortion foe, has introduced abortion bans for years without success. But on Tuesday, he expressed optimism that 2007 will be different. “We expect great things to happen with this bill this year,” he said.
“I know this is not the most popular thing to do,” added Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snellville, a co-sponsor of Franklin’s bill. “It’s the right thing to do.”

The Georgia Christian Coalition has put the abortion issue at the top of its legislative priorities for the 2007 session. But Dionne Vann, interim executive director of NARAL-Pro Choice Georgia, said an outright ban on abortion isn’t any more likely to pass in Georgia this year than in the past. “We don’t feel it represents the majority of the people of Georgia’s opinions on abortion, so it’s not going to go anywhere,” she said.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Franklin accepted sworn affidavits from about 2,000 women from around the country who say their lives have been harmed by undergoing abortions.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, hasn’t taken a position on Franklin’s bill. Richardson spokeswoman Clelia Davis said he will allow its fate to be decided through the normal committee process.

Georgia Prepares to Battle Roe v. Wade

January 16th, 2007

House bill challenges Roe by establishing personhood of unborn
By Peter J. Smith

Atlanta, Georgia, January 15, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Georgia House of Representatives has taken up the gauntlet to challenge the 34-year-old Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion with a new bill that establishes an unborn child as a human person at conception deserving full protection under the law with no exceptions.

House Bill 1 sponsored by Bobby Franklin with many other cosponsors, declares that “a fetus is a person for all purposes under the laws of this state from the moment of conception” and cites the decision of Roe v. Wade itself to justify its complete ban of abortion.

Franklin’s bill states that “The State of Georgia has the duty to protect all innocent life from the moment of conception until natural death,” and adds that three decades of legal human abortion have “negatively impacted the people of this state in many ways, including economic, health, physical, psychological, emotional, and medical well-being.”

“As a direct result of three decades of legalized abortion on demand, the nation has seen a dramatic rise in the incidence of child abuse and a dramatic weakening of family ties, with the infamous Roe v. Wade decision pitting mothers against their children and women against men.”

The legislation continues: “Georgia Constitution, at Article I, Section I, Paragraph II, provides: ‘Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. Because a fetus is a person, constitutional protection attaches at the moment of conception.”

Under article 5, the legislation quotes the Roe decision: “Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority in Roe v. Wade , 410 U.S. 113 (1973), wrote: ‘when those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer [to the question of when life begins].’ Now, 30 years later, the General Assembly knows the answer to that difficult question, and that answer is life begins at the moment of conception.”

In the 1973 Roe decision, Justice Blackmun admitted that Roe would lose its legal justification if an unborn child were determined as a person deserving of rights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment. “[Texas] argue[s] that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment… If this suggestion of personhood is established, the [pro-abortion] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

The bill was brought before a house committee hearing January 9, where Sandra Cano, “Mary Doe” of Roe’s companion case Doe v. Bolton, offered testimony and was joined by Dr. Alveda King, niece of the famed Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.

The bill has been greeted with enthusiasm from pro-life organizations. Rev. Flip Benham, Director of Operation Save America/Operation Rescue, described the measure as “the very best bill that any state has brought before its legislative body yet… it is an all out declaration that human life begins at conception and therefore is due protection under the color of Law.”

AJC: Abortion foes split on best ways to accomplish legislative goals (1/10/2007)

January 11th, 2007

LEGISLATURE 2007: Abortion foes split on best ways to accomplish legislative goals

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/10/07 Abortion isn’t supposed to be a hot topic at the Gold Dome this year —- at least according to common political wisdom about a nonelection year.

But state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) and several anti-abortion groups have a different take on the matter. They held a news conference, a prayer vigil and an informal hearing at the Capitol on Tuesday to support House Bill 1, a measure sponsored by Franklin that would ban all abortions in Georgia, with no exceptions.

Several political watchers say the bill is unlikely to gain much traction during the legislative session, but it underscores the balancing act Georgia’s GOP majority must strike between social conservatives and moderate Republicans.

“It’s always tough to maintain that balance once you’re in the majority,” said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University. “I think a lot of lawmakers know where that balance is —- though they might not say much publicly. Most know a bill banning abortion is too hot to handle, even though some may support it. But it’s doubtful they’ll want to put it on the front burner.”

Even within Georgia’s anti-abortion movement, major differences in opinion exist on how best to accomplish the goal. Franklin, for example, said this is the third straight term —- spanning six years —- that he has introduced a bill attempting to ban abortion. None of those proposals has made it to the House floor for a vote.

“I think if it comes to the House floor, it will pass,” Franklin said Tuesday.

Asked to handicap the bill’s chances, Clelia Davis, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Glenn Richardson, would only say, “This bill, like all other bills, will go through the legislative process and be assigned to a committee. We look forward to the debate.”

Some anti-abortion groups’ leaders say they support Franklin’s efforts but have other legislative priorities. The leaders of Georgia Right to Life, for example, said Tuesday they are focusing on a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound and give them the opportunity to review the images of the fetus before an abortion, a measure that failed in 2006. Kevin Harris, the group’s lobbyist, said they also plan to pursue a proposal to amend Georgia’s Constitution to ban abortion.

Pat Chivers, a lobbyist and spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, said the church is putting its efforts into the ultrasound bill, which has not been introduced yet this session. Chivers said the Archdiocese supports Franklin’s anti-abortion efforts but is not actively lobbying for his bill.

“We’re concerned about the way it is written, knowing that it would need to go before the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court,” Chivers said. “There needs to be some changes on the U.S. Supreme Court before there would be a consideration for this bill.”

Anti-abortion advocates have scored victories in promoting their agenda —- bottled up by Democrats for years —- since the Republicans completed their sweep of the House, Senate and governor’s office in 2004.

In 2005, Georgia Right to Life and the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta helped pass the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which included a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion. Last year, those groups helped push through the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a crime to kill or injure an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy.

Those recent legislative successes by anti-abortion advocates have spurred abortion rights supporters into action as well. Last year, several women’s rights groups helped derail a house bill that would protect from disciplinary action pharmacists who object on moral or religious grounds to filling a prescription that would terminate a pregnancy. Opponents of the measure worried it could be interpreted to include emergency contraception.

The final measure that passed the General Assembly —- approved as an amendment to another bill —- specifically states that the measure doesn’t authorize a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription for birth control.

“We’re not too worried about it becoming law,” Dionne Vann, executive director of NARAL/Pro Choice Georgia, said of HB 1. “But we are concerned and keeping an eye on the fact that a growing number of representatives are jumping on the bandwagon for whatever reason.”

Chuck Clay, a former state senator and former state GOP chairman, said he thinks many anti-abortion leaders have matured politically and know they have a better chance of passing bills that restrict abortion than an all-out ban.

“I respect Bobby Franklin —- he’s entitled to bring his bill, and it’s a pressure valve release for those who feel strongly on the issue,” Clay said. “But on the other side, there’s a practical reality. This bill is not going to reach add the floor, and it’s not worth undermining the leadership of the House and Senate, which are both, in most respects, profoundly pro-life.”

It’s About Time!

January 8th, 2007

Welcome to the Georgia for Life Coalition blog. This is the place for the latest happenings on the progress of House Bill 1 sponsored by Rep. Bobby Franklin.