Back to

After suffering a crushing defeat when they tried to oppose the Heartbeat Bill last year; Senator Steve Henson, Senator Nan Orrock, and their pro-death supporters took the year to lick their wounds and have returned this legislative session with a new targeted attack on the innocent and most vulnerable among us – Senate Bill 291, the “Georgia Death with Dignity Act“.

There are attempts to introduce a version of this same initiative every few years, each with a different, catchy, and seemingly altruistic name – meant to ignite a sense of compassion and support from those who don’t realize that their only goal is to continue to attack and erode the value of human life, and our morals along with it. They have pretty words and misleading language, but as we’ve seen in every state or nation which has legalized this callous practice; a ‘right to die’ eventually means a ‘duty to die’, and ‘compassion’ always means killing. They try to tell us that someone begins approaching the end of their lives is merely a ‘shell’ of their former self, that they wouldn’t choose to live ‘like this,’ that they’d never want to be a ‘burden’ on their loved ones, and that the ‘compassionate’ or ‘loving’ thing to do would be to murder them. 

For me, this isn’t just about politics or scoring points at the capitol…and it shouldn’t be for you either. Senators Henson and Orrock have come for our families. They’ve come for MY family. 

I spent the majority of my childhood with my grandparents. My mother was very young, unprepared, and unmarried when I was born. She worked 2-3 jobs most of the time and would drop me on my grandparents’ doorstep for days or weeks at a time – often with little to no notice. I am certain that the intrusion of an infant when their own children were finally grown and out of the house was not ideal for them; but my grandmother never once let me feel like a burden. She joyfully nurtured and loved me. She fed me when I couldn’t feed myself, she interpreted for me when I couldn’t yet speak, she stood for me when I couldn’t yet walk. She took me to church with her every Sunday. She taught me how to saddle and ride a horse. She showed me that the difference between right and wrong doesn’t change and it has nothing to do with how we feel in the moment. 

Objectively; I was useless to her. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use the toilet independently. I gave nothing and required much. I complicated her life at a time when she should have been able to finally begin to relax and take things a little easier, maybe even start to travel or take up those hobbies she’d always been too busy tending her family to pursue. I was inconvenient. 

My grandmother now lives every day dependent on oxygen tanks that must be changed every few hours, medicines and injections that must be administered in strict regimens. She has COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, and her doctor’s very recently found a cancerous and inoperable tumor. She is forgetful and clumsy, elderly, and feeble. The woman who showed such strength of character, the woman who was such a pillar of independence and grace for my entire life, the woman who taught me how to hold a fork and that you always cook bacon in the cast iron skillet before making cornbread, the woman who taught me to sew and read my bible, the woman who taught me right from wrong and to never look down on someone unless I was helping them up – that woman now depends on others for literally everything. She falls asleep during conversations, she forgets names and details, she struggles with daily tasks that used to be so easy for her. She is fading before my eyes. When I am with her; however, I still see that Spanish fire ignite her eyes when I’m telling a story that gets her spirit riled up, or I ‘accidentally’ use a swear word. I can still feel her love for me when I lie beside her, even though she sometimes can’t wrap her arms around me like she used to. I still see my grandmother. 

Senators Henson and Orrock would like you and I to believe that she should die. That my family would be giving her ‘dignity’ to allow her to kill herself. That the ‘compassionate’ thing to do for her would be to tell her that she’s a burden. That she should take a pill and end her life so that we can all move on with ours without the ‘unpleasant’ task of watching her fade from us. 

I refuse.

Will it break my heart to say goodbye to the woman who raised me? Yes. Without question. 

Will anything ease the loss of her when she is called away? Absolutely not. 

But when she does leave this world; it will not be with grief in her heart because the law has told her she has a duty to die and spare her family from the ‘burden’ of caring for her. It will be with me by her side, speaking for her when she can no longer speak, feeding her when she can no longer feed herself, standing for her when she can no longer stand. Fighting for her when she can no longer fight.

Those supporting this bill tell us that this will be too painful – that she’d be better off dead at this point because she wouldn’t want that to happen. That there will come a time, soon, where my grandmother will see my face and not remember who I am. That’s okay. I don’t do this because she remembers me or knows who I am – I do it because I remember who she was, who she is, and Whose she is. 

Murder isn’t healthcare. There is nothing compassionate about ending a human life when it’s become ‘inconvenient’. Do not believe their lies; there is no ‘dignity’ in telling someone that they would be better off dead. 

Stand for people like my grandmother. Help me defend her. 

Call Senators Steve Henson (404-656-0085) and Nan Orrock (404-463-8054); tell them that you oppose Senate Bill 291. 

As a pro-life movement, we must stand for those at the end of their lives with the same passion that we stand for those at the beginning of their lives. The time to speak up is now. If we win the fight against abortion but neglect to defend the elderly and infirm, we have still lost.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. (Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail)

We are so very different, you and I. In a different world, I don’t know that our paths would have ever crossed – much less that we would be ever have been friends. When we met for the first time, I was a 15-year-old, homeless, 5 months pregnant, high school dropout who was praying for a miracle. You were a 30-year old, married, Christian middle school teacher who was praying for God to grow your family. So much has happened in both of our lives since we met almost 15 years ago; there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you and the little girl we both love (I’ll call her B going forward for privacy reasons). As we approach Mother’s Day this year and are all confined to our homes, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the bond we’ve shared over the years and I realize how much I’ve left unsaid – before another year goes by, I wanted to tell you these things:

  1. I was afraid of you. I was sitting in an office at a church in Athens, waiting to meet you and your husband for the first time. Just a week before, I’d chosen you two as the family to adopt B, who was growing rapidly in my womb. I was already almost 6 months pregnant, and I was terrified that I’d waited too long to make this decision. I had a notepad in my lap with questions I had written to ask you, things I wanted to tell you about me, and things I wanted to know about you before B was born. I remember wondering what you’d think of me and if you’d even want to adopt a child born to a woman like me. I remember being afraid that you’d think I was just some teenage floosy or a drug addict, or both. It only took a few minutes of talking with you two for that fear to be completely forgotten. When I met you, I felt like I’d known you both for years. I ended up not even asking most of my questions and I left that meeting feeling more peace and hope than I’d felt in months. I even joked with a friend that I wished you two could adopt me too! 
  2. I’ve never regretted choosing you. I’ve never been in your shoes. I’ll never know the heartbreak involved in infertility, a decade of trying to conceive, multiple miscarriages, or how much it must have shattered you to be told you’d been chosen by a birth mother before me who ultimately changed her mind. I’ll never know the weight of the cross you bore to get to where you are; but I do know that you were chosen by our Creator to be B’s mother. I have never once doubted or regretted my decision. I remember sitting with my adoption case worker at a restaurant, surrounded by a stack of what felt like thousands (but was probably more like hundreds… you know how teenagers exaggerate) of profiles from prospective adoptive families. Stack upon stack of families all desperately praying and waiting with empty longing arms for a child. I was overwhelmed even looking at how many there were and felt wholly unqualified to choose one over the others – how does one decide which family ‘gets’ a baby? The weight of the decision spread across the table before me made it feel like there wasn’t quite enough air in the room. I took a deep breath and then, in a mostly facetious move, I just stuck my hand into the middle of one of the many binders and said, ‘This one!’. That was your profile. I looked at every single other profile, I weighed each and every single one of them, but still kept coming back to yours. It wasn’t the cute plaid ribbons you’d woven through the spine of the folder, it wasn’t the loving and heartfelt letter from your mother-in-law to me that was included, it wasn’t the pictures of the beautiful home or the obvious love with which you’ve put it together; it wasn’t the fact that you were a special needs teacher who has a close relationship with her mother and loves to sew, it wasn’t the fact that your husband teaches at the same school and coaches soccer. It wasn’t any one thing I can put my finger on. I’ve spoken to prospective couples seeking advice before and they’ve asked me what they could do with their profiles to emulate yours and I don’t have an answer because it wasn’t just about your profile. God chose you, and the minute I saw your profile, I knew you were it. You were B’s mother. Not once in the almost 15 years since I made that decision have I regretted it. 
  3. You are selfless. Whenever I tell my story or share that I’m a birthmother, people often tell me that I am selfless. But when I look back, I see your selflessness so much more than my own; and it feels almost unfair that more people don’t talk about the selfless love adoptive mothers have for both their children and their child’s birthmother. You loved me. You genuinely loved me. Not as someone who could maybe give you a baby or as just a vessel for the child you had been praying for – you loved me as a person. You loved me as a young girl still growing up. You cared for me. Your heart hurt for things that hurt mine. You celebrated my successes and mourned my losses with me. You’ve shared your life with me as we’ve kept in touch via email and letters over the years. You’ve shared updates about B and your family, the decision to leave your job teaching to stay home with B, the joy when you adopted B’s brother; you’ve given me sound advice and loving support as I was going back to high school, getting my driver’s license, looking at colleges, choosing career paths, starting my own family, and stepping into my career. You have been a beautiful and supportive friend to me and you didn’t have to be; you owed me nothing and yet you opened your heart to me and given me small glimpses into B’s life that I have treasured. I cannot imagine the myriad of things you must have felt after meeting me or throughout our journey together so far; but you’ve loved me so selflessly and I’m so humbled by it. 
  4. You are courageous. When I went into labor, the baby was breech and before they were going to let me start pushing, they tried to turn her. While they were turning the baby, something went wrong and they began immediately preparing me for an emergency C-section. I was absolutely terrified; and absolutely alone. I remember as they’d gotten me onto the operating table and I was surrounded by a frightening bustle of activity and medical jargon, doctors and nurses all working hard to save our baby – silent tears were streaming down my face when a woman came into the room, spoke in hushed whispers with the doctor, and then crouched over me and said, “the mother is here, are you okay if she comes in?”. The relief I felt was profound. I managed a nod and within minutes you were standing beside me holding my hand, stroking my face, praying over me, and speaking words of comfort to me while our daughter was born. I’ll never be able to fathom the courage it took to even come to the hospital when you were told I was in labor. You and your husband had been chosen before, you’d held a baby in your arms, gave him a name, and welcomed him into your family once before… only to have to say goodbye. I can’t imagine the grief of that; I also can’t imagine how much courage it took you to come to the hospital and worry that you’d be sent home empty handed, to witness B’s birth, to hear her first cries of life, to be the first person to hold her – all while battling the fear that you might not get to keep her, that you might fall deeply in love with her only to have her stripped from your arms. You chose love instead of fear. 
  5. God is into details. Less than two months passed from the time you found out that there was a pregnant teenager in north Georgia who’d chosen your family to when she was making her dramatic and joyous (and EARLY) arrival. I have no idea what you were doing or had on your schedule the day you got the call telling you I was at the hospital being prepared for delivery; I can’t imagine what it cost you to be in that room with me or what happened outside of it to make it possible, but I am so very thankful that you were there. I often say that God is into details and I treasure that He saw fit to make sure that B came into the world in a room where both of her mothers were there to welcome her. 

I remember one Sunday morning, about two years after B was born, sitting in a Mother’s Day service when the pastor asked all of the mothers to stand up so the congregation could recognize them. With a heavy heart, I stayed seated with my head bowed; I didn’t know if I ‘counted’ or could be included in the Motherhood Club because I was ‘just’ a birth mother. I didn’t think I deserved the recognition the ‘other’ moms did because all I did was carry and deliver B. I never stayed up all night comforting her cries, I wasn’t the one who stood at her bedside after her surgery when she was 3 months old, I never changed her diapers or kissed her boo-boo’s, I didn’t help her take her first steps. I’m not her ‘mom’. I’m her birth mother. 

I know there have been times when mom friends of yours would share birth and pregnancy stories and you likely felt excluded; like you didn’t ‘count’ as much as a mom because you didn’t enter motherhood the same way they did. You never felt the first flutters of B’s life stir in your womb, you didn’t spend the first 3 months of her in-utero life with your head in the toilet, you never experienced the wonder of tapping a melody on your stomach and feeling her swift kicks in response, or having your entire belly shake every 4 seconds when she had the hiccups (which was *all* the time). 

We’ve both experienced motherhood in a way that’s unique to us, but the way we became mothers does not make us less than any other ‘type’ of mother. We both count. You and I will always share a bond of motherhood that can’t be severed. B is mine in ways that I can’t give to you; and she is yours in ways that I could never take. Thank you for being her mother. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for sharing this unique bond of motherhood with me. If I could choose again, I’d still choose you.  

Happy Mother’s Day, from one mom to another

Speak Life 2020 Oratory Contest

2020 SPEAK LIFE ORATORY CONTEST NOW OPENAs the largest pro-life organization in our state and the only affiliate to National Right to Life, Georgia Life Alliance is proud to announce that submissions are now open for Speak Life 2020, the official Pro-Life Oratory Contest in Georgia!1st place winner receives $500 and will compete against other state-level winners from across the country in the National Right to Life Oratory Contest at their National Convention on June 27th in Herndon, Virginia.

2nd place/Runner Up receives $250 and a video of their speech featured on GLA’s facebook, twitter, instagram, and website.
Raising Up the Next Generation of Pro-Life LeadersContest is open to current public, private, charter, hybrid, or home school high school juniors and seniors. Contestants will not only help spread the pro-life message and save lives; but also build their own public speaking skills and confidence! 

Don’t Delay! Deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. on May 8th, 2020.

Winners will be announced on May 15th. 
In order to comply with Governor Kemp’s social distancing and public gathering restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s entries will be accepted online only. Judging will take place virtually and scores will be released to each contestant via the email address provided. Click here for complete contest rules and guidelines. 

There I sat Monday morning in Room 406 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, shell-shocked and genuinely horrified at the brazen display of petty childishness that I had just witnessed. 

Representative Ed Setzler’s HB 958, “The Maternity Supportive Housing Act”, was heard in the House Juvenile Justice Committee earlier this week. As is the case with every proposed bill, HB 958 has the potential to become State Law if it makes it through the legislative process. (If you’re not familiar with how a bill becomes a law, SchoolHouse Rock has a very catchy and informative song that I’d highly recommend). 

Representative Setzler had not even begun to present the bill when 5 of the committee members simply left the room. 

They just got up and LEFT

An exodus of adult-sized toddlers fleeing from their responsibilities – their only intent was to leave so few committee members that a vote could not be held, thereby preventing the bill from making it out of the committee before Crossover Day. Let there be no doubt, this was a concerted and intentional effort to a) send a huge ‘F—You’ to Representative Setzler and b) kill this bill where it stood. 


Well because they don’t like him, that’s why. Not because they had any concerns about how the bill would impact their district. Nope. They just don’t like the Representative sponsoring the bill, so they attempted to sabotage the entire process. 

This sort of behavior is disheartening and discouraging in its own right; but it is especially heartbreaking when good bills are caught as collateral damage in a war that has nothing to do with their substance. 

This particular bill seeks to provide more avenues for non-profit organizations to provide homes for pregnant women and new mothers who otherwise would have nowhere else to go. Not only would this bill allow for more options for these women, it would also extend the amount of time a woman and her newborn are able to stay in that home. The current guidelines state that a woman has just 8 weeks after giving birth to figure something out before she is essentially tossed out; HB 958 extends that time to 18 months – which gives the new mother time to recover, find/return to a job, learn essential skills for leading a family and running a household, and the support she needs while adjusting to motherhood. 

While there are maternity homes in Georgia, the demand is FAR greater than the supply. Women are being turned away, hopeless with nowhere to go, far too often for a state that just last year passed The Heartbeat Bill. In order to actually build a culture of Life – one where women don’t feel coerced into choosing abortion – we have to commit to helping women when they do choose life. Empowering them to choose life and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to succeed and thrive after doing so. 

I was turned away by a maternity home when I was 15 and pregnant. It was already my last option or hope for a roof over my head at all, and being told “no, sorry, we can’t take you.” was a heavy blow. I spent the next several months in a whirlwind of homelessness, sleeping on friends/family member’s couches, stealing money and food out of necessity, selling things that no person should be able to purchase. 

When those 5 committee members got up and walked out of that committee room, they walked out on girls just like me.

Our elected officials must remember and consider that the bills they see everyday aren’t just words on a page and that voting on future law is not just another day at work. Real people with real struggles could be made or broken by bills like these, and they deserve to be fairly considered. This particular bill affects women who are or will be in the same shoes I once wore, and they deserve to be put before political games.  

Regardless of the topic, substance, or sponsor of ANY proposed bill – every single representative assigned to the committee hearing it owes a DUTY to the people of his/her district to at least READ and HEAR that bill and to make every good faith effort in deciding whether the best interests of their district would be well-served or harmed by it, and then cast votes accordingly. 

To Representatives Shelly Hutchinson, Erica Thomas, Dar’Shun Kendrick, and Pam Dickenson – on behalf of Georgia voters, I have only this to say: 

You were elected to represent the people of your district. You made a promise to serve the people who voted for you and to set aside your personal feelings about your ‘enemies’ across the aisle. You were called to reach across that aisle, even and especially when you don’t want to, in your efforts to represent and protect the people who trusted you enough to send you as their missive to our State Capitol. 

Your behavior Monday was so far beneath your profession, it is embarrassing. 

You should be ashamed of yourselves

Your constituents don’t care who proposes a bill. They care how it affects them. And so should you. 

Don’t lose sight of why you started because of political games. Don’t let the price tag of petty politics be the very people you swore to represent.