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The Red & Black recently published an opinion piece lamenting how Georgia’s LIFE Act “shows a disturbing regression of women’s rights.” 

The author lays out several arguments against our Heartbeat Bill that I have heard around the Capitol and regularly in the media, so I wanted to take a moment to explore these arguments a little more in depth. 

Toddler Trouble

The author says that it is unfair to limit abortion to 6 weeks and reduce the time in which a mother has to consider ending her child’s life. 

While the author omits that the 6-week old baby has a heartbeat, lungs, nose, and complex formations of the brain, her underlying argument is that the child’s right to life does not overcome the mother’s right to preference. But why? A matter of dependence?

The baby in the womb is undoubtedly physically dependent upon her mother. And so is the newborn, the infant, and the toddler. But, I hope, the author is not arguing in favor of a mother’s right to end the life of her toddler. 

Or, perhaps, it is a matter of biological development, and the author is opposed to babies with beating hearts having a right to life. If that is the case, which developmental milestone should protect a child from being killed? When the child obtains higher brain function and has an awareness of self? But, that doesn’t happen until 24 months. And, again, I hope, the author is not arguing against a toddler’s right to life.

I hope.

Majority Rule

Another problem the author lists with the bill is that it was passed by a legislature that is comprised mostly by “old white men” who are “governing a woman’s body.”

I can see how this would be frustrating. In the interest of ensuring that old white men don’t overstep their bounds by governing other demographic groups they do not belong to, I presume that the author is also in opposition to:

  • HB345, which prohibits shackling pregnant inmates; passed by old white men.
  • HB426, which would protect minority and LGBTQ victims of hate crimes; passed by old white men in the House.
  • SB106, which will increase access to healthcare for low income Georgians; passed by old white men.
  • The Rape Survivor Custody Act, which terminates parental rights to men who impregnate women via nonconsensual sexual intercourse; passed by old white men.
  • The Thirteenth Amendments, which ended slavery; passed by old white men.
  • And even Roe v. Wade, which expanded abortion rights nationwide, ruled on by 6 white men.

I’ll await the author’s opinion piece regarding these additional injustices perpetrated by old white men.

Constitution Confusion

The author states that “a woman’s right to her body is a constitutional right.” The only issue with that blanket statement is that it is legally and scientifically inaccurate on all fronts.

Actual legal scholar John Hart Ely repudiated Roe in a 1973 article in the Yale Law Journal, stating that it “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Also adding that abortion “…is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers’ thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation’s governmental structure.” 

In layman’s terms, Roe is merely an exercise in egregious judicial activism that lacks substantive justification anywhere in the Constitution to rest upon. 

This is evidenced by Justice Blackmun’s (who ruled in favor of Roe) comments during oral arguments at the Supreme Court, when he stated, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment.”

Justice Blackmun is 100% correct. This is why The LIFE Act rests its entire foundation upon the premise that a child is a person, as demonstrated by labeling a child in the womb as a natural person, including them in our state population count, providing a tax exemption for them, and extending child support to cover them.

HB481 not only accommodates the logic of the Roe decision, it adheres to the very specific parameters it laid out for a state’s compelling interest to protect a child’s right to life to be found constitutionally valid.

Real Leadership

Georgia is leading the nation in recognizing and protecting the rights of the vulnerable and the oppressed. The only disturbing regression here is the lack of journalistic understanding by so many when covering the most pro-life and pro-woman piece of legislation ever passed in our state.

Because We Care About Women

For the last week, I’ve heard one recurring theme from pro-abortion protestors around the State Capitol: if pro-lifers support passing HB 481, the LIFE Act, to restrict abortions after 6 weeks, then it must mean that we don’t care about women.

Reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that Georgia is facing a maternal health crisis, and HB 481 takes significant strides to protect women and children across our state. 

Here’s how.

In 2010, Amnesty International sounded the alarm and released a report showing Georgia was the worst state in the nation for maternal mortality. In the years that have followed, reports show that the number of maternal deaths in our state have doubled and that things only seem to be getting worse. 

According to Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecologyabortion is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, resulting in 13% of all maternal deaths worldwide and leaving more than 5 million women with long-term health complications [1]. 

Additionally, a National Institute of Health publication in November of 2018 reported that approximately 20,000 women will experience complications from an abortion in the United States, with 40% of those complications resulting in an emergency department visits within six weeks of the initial abortion procedure – primarily for obstetric hemorrhaging. They also report that the frequency and severity of abortion complications in mothers grow dramatically as the gestational age of their babies increases, with up to 50% of 2nd-trimester abortions experiencing complications compared to less than 1% of abortions prior to 8 weeks [2].

Lastly, 5 of the 10 worst Georgia counties for maternal mortality (Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Clayton, and Cobb) accounted for 36% of maternal mortality as well as 56% of abortions statewide in 2016-2017 [3].

Based on this data, we can expect that approximately 550 women in Georgia will experience a complication from their abortion each year and are at critical risk of experiencing injuries that lead to obstetric hemorrhaging, which is the second-leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in Georgia [4]. 

Not only would HB 481 protect innocent children with beating hearts, it would restrict abortions to before 6 weeks and only be committed within adequately-equipped facilities – which will significantly reduce the number of pregnant mothers at risk of complication, injury, and death in Georgia.

With that in mind, we thank the Georgia House and Senate for standing together for healthy mothers and health babies by sending HB 481 to Governor Kemp’s desk to sign into law

Because we care about women.J

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2709326/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430793/ 
  3. https://oasis.state.ga.us/ 
  4. https://dph.georgia.gov/sites/dph.georgia.gov/files/MCH/MMR/MaternalMortalityFactSheet.FINAL2014data.pdf 
  5. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1712222628878925 

The Litmus Test

By Kristen Leach

Occasionally when I’m looking through my Facebook feed, I will come across professionally produced videos where groups of children are asked their thoughts on a certain topic. The juvenile interviewees weigh in on a variety of current issues, ranging from unfamiliar foods to gay marriage to religion to friendship and acceptance. We consider the opinions of children a kind of litmus test to remind us of an untainted, pure, and honest perspective that has not yet been marred by the realities of life. Their candid responses challenge our callousness or our acceptance of the status quo, a lesser alternative to the optimistic, idealistic world that children envision.

If we believe children have the ability to remind us of forgotten truths or help us understand an issue for what it really is, then we ought to consider what children think about abortion.

I will never forget the night I learned what the word ‘abortion’ meant. One cold, dark night in the late 1990s, the abortion topic must have been in the news or brought up during church, but the meaning was unfamiliar to me. I was sitting at the kitchen table, 8 or 9 years old, and I asked my mom what abortion meant. She probably felt a rush of dread and sadness to have to explain this cruel act to her naïve daughter. She sat next to me at the table, and though I can’t remember her exact words, she told me that an abortion is when a mom decides she doesn’t want the baby she’s carrying and the baby is killed in a procedure. Immediately, I started crying, so upset by the thought that a mother could choose to kill the baby growing inside of her for whatever reason she deems necessary. As a young girl, I remember feeling hurt, so sad and scared. I had only ever known a very loving, maternal mother, and it scared me to think about the babies who might not have a mom like mine and might be aborted. I honestly cannot think about that moment without a pang of sadness in my chest even today. Looking past my tears out the kitchen window into the black night, my worldview was dimmed, and I lost a little bit of my childhood innocence that night as I realized a new darkness in the world.

Someone reading this might say that my mom didn’t tell me about how abortion really ‘helps’ women who maybe can’t take care of the baby or who aren’t in a good stage in life for a baby. I am confident that the ancillary commentary would have done nothing to mitigate the sting of pain I felt thinking about a baby dying by her mother’s hand. If children are taught that killing another person is wrong, then what kind of justification can there be to make killing an innocent baby right?

Perhaps this is the litmus test we need right now as we debate across the aisle about the sanctity of life or a women’s right to choose.