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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 

Life At The Capitol- 2/23/19

GLA put together an aggressive legislative agenda for 2019, and our team has been working vigilantly to accomplish it and represent you, our Pregnancy Resource Centers, and the pro-life movement at the Capitol since Session convened. 

We are officially halfway through the Session; so here’s a look at what we’ve been working on so far in 2019:

SB 104: Simon’s Law
Simon Crosier was born in 2010 with Trisomy 18. He lived for 3 beautiful months before he passed away. After his death, however, his parents were horrified to learn that a Do Not Resuscitate order had been placed in his file without their knowledge or consent. Simon’s Law ensures that a DNR is never issues for a minor patient without parental consent

Senator Chuck Payne’s SB 104 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and we expect it will be heard again next week and passed out for a vote on the Senate floor. We have been working with Simon’s parents since 2016 to bring this legislation to Georgia and we are confident 2019 is the year it will be signed into law.

HB 345: Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act
In prisons and jails around America, pregnant inmates are handcuffed, shackled, and restrained both in prison and during labor/delivery. This practice is unethical and dangerous to mothers and babies. President Trump signed the First Step Act in December 2018, which prohibited the practice in federal prisons.

Representative Sharon Cooper’s HB 345 would prohibit shackling a pregnant inmate during her second and third trimester, during labor and delivery, or during her postpartum period in any penal institution in Georgia. This will allow women to protect themselves and their babies from accidents, ensure a safe and health delivery for mom and baby, and protect the dignity of moms everywhere.

HB 234: Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act
The fight against human trafficking in Georgia evolves regularly as those who sell and buy children for sex or labor find new and more sinister ways to victimize the innocent. In response, Georgia is always working to tighten, adapt, and better enforce our anti-trafficking laws.

Representative Chuck Efstration’s HB 234 would equip law enforcement with additional tools to investigate and prosecute those who enable human trafficking as well as ensure that rescued child victims should receive trauma-informed treatment rather than being subjected to arrest and treatment as a criminal.

Positive Alternative for Parenting & Pregnancy Grant
In 2016 and 2017, GLA wrote and championed a new state grant that would allow for Pregnancy Resource Centers to obtain state grants to purchase new ultrasound machines, make facility repairs and improvements, etc. Many centers have taken advantage of this grant and lives have been saved thanks to it.

We are working to ensure Georgia’s 2019-2020 budget includes funding for this grant once again so that women in low income/rural communities, or who are facing complex situations surrounding their pregnancy, can receive the resources and support they need.

They’re Dead, Jim
With your support, we have fought and successfully defeated two dangerous pieces of legislation that would have turned the clock back on women’s rights in Georgia. The Equal Rights Amendment, which would have legalized abortion on demand, and HB188, which would have repealed the Positive Alternative Grant, are both dead in Georgia. 

Coming Soon
We have two additional pieces of legislation that we are working on with several lawmakers, the Governor, and our nonprofit partners that would protect the sanctity of life in Georgia. Once we can share more information about them, you’ll hear more from us!

Thank You For Your Support
Without you, it would be impossible to achieve success at the Capitol. For those who have signed petitions, donated, shared, and called or emailed your elected officials, thank you. Please continue your support and be praying for us as we march toward the next milestone of the Legislative Session, Crossover Day on March 7th. 

Together for life,

Joshua Edmonds
Executive Director