Georgia Senate To Vote On Anti-Abortion Bill Monday

Sometime in the last month, a friend told me that Margaret Atwood said her dystopian novel, A Handmaid’s Tale, was not supposed to be predictive. When the Canadian author wrote this book in the early 1980s, could she have imagined that her fictional theocracy would foreshadow, in her lifetime, the environment south of the 49th parallel?

The Georgia General Assembly is on the verge of prohibiting almost all abortions after 20 weeks, even if a pregnancy resulted from rape or incest or in the case of a fetus that “is doomed to die an excruciating death within hours of birth.” The premise? That a 20+ week old fetus can feel pain.

The Senate is slated to vote Monday on HB954, “to change certain provisions relating to criminal abortion.” The legislation, known anecdotally as the Fetal Pain Bill, would reduce by six weeks the time in which a Georgia woman could obtain a legal abortion.

HB954, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was introduced by Rep. Doug McKillip (R-Athens) and has already passed the House (102-65). In this bill, Georgia’s politicians are inserting themselves between a woman and her doctor.

House Bill 954 threatens to put an obstetrician in jail for caring for any pregnancy with complications after 20 weeks. If this legislation becomes law, a woman whose water breaks at 21 weeks gestation would be legally forced to have a Cesarean delivery in order to protect the “life” of a non-viable baby since the process of labor usually results in death of the baby at this gestational age.
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As a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Athens, I know that difficult clinical situations of an impending delivery before the point of viability occur multiple times each year in our community. The families are devastated. The physician and nursing team are the support to assist these families as they suffer through these losses.
[...]
There is no other medical specialty where legislators have felt the need to intrude as much as they do in women’s health. Do they not think that women and their medically trained physicians can give appropriate care?

It’s time for the government to get out of my examination room. If you, legislators, want to practice medicine, go to medical school.

Earlier this month, the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society offices were burglarized and its computers, containing information on membership, were stolen. The Society had urged its members to oppose HB954.

Last Monday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill:

Dr. Anne Patterson, who practices maternal fetal medicine, said medical experts widely believe fetuses do not fully develop connections related to pain until about 28 weeks. L. Lynn Hogue, an emeritus law professor at Georgia State University, said the U.S. Supreme Court has found repeatedly that a fetus’ “viability means the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.” The bill, he said, flies in the face of that definition.

The bill is part of a nationally crafted campaign to put women back in the kitchen and bedroom, where they belong, donja know. Last year, National Review reported that “fetal-pain laws are good pro-life strategy” and have been passed in a swath of red states: Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Jay Bookman nails it on the head:

You cannot claim to be defending life when you condemn a would-be mother to give birth to death. The bill is angry and punitive, a brutal insistence that if God or nature has dictated that a mother and child go through such torture, then said torture will by God occur. Dan Becker, head of Georgia Right To Life, even warned that those seeking an exception for medically futile pregnancies are part of “a new eugenics movement in the United States” similar to that in Nazi Germany.

Wow. Even the Nazi card.

If you live in Georgia, call your State Senator first thing Monday morning (district maps). If you know someone who lives in Georgia, share this link or (better yet) phone them and urge action.

7 Comments

  1. Dear @HazelEyes – please provide data for your assertion that “millions” of “perfectly healthy and viable fetuses” have been aborted. I believe that myth was soundly rebutted in the “anti-late stage abortion” era. The Georgia bill is yet another attempt to insert the state between a woman and her physician.

    I find it fascinating that the political party which led the (false) charge about “death panels” is the same party that wants to make decisions for women when it comes to pregnancy. I thought “barefoot and pregnant” was a symbol of another era; sadly, it appears that I was wrong.

    As far as dissent is concerned: it seems to me that leaving a decision in the hands of a woman and her physician is the best way to ensure that all women are able to live by their own convictions. It is this bill, a product of the right, which shuts off “dissent.”

  2. Hazel, the Fed govt doesn’t force anyone to do anything with regards to abortion now. I know, that must come as a shock to you. We are FREE to choose the outcome now. If you don’t want an abortion, by all means, don’t have have one. Your call. Encourage your children not to have abortions, raise them with that value system. The govt is not going to force you or intervene and make your decision for you. Its not overweening at all. Its not even weening a little bit on this issue.

    Ironically what you are asking for is govt intrusion into the lives of people at the same time as you imply govt intrusion is bad thing. On what has to be the most personal decision of anyone’s life. How bout you be free to do what you want, and I be free to do what I want, as long as it doesn’t hurt you. Deal?

  3. Oh and btw I am aware the govt does put limits on abortion to some extent right now, so please don’t read me a laundry list of all the things that preclude getting an abortion. I was just making an argument.

  4. a great title for the idiot masses…

    what if they modified the procedure so the fetus is given a pain killer? all good?

    Just call it what it is…. an attempt to reduce the time a woman is allowed to have an abortion. Let the people just vote on that.

  5. I have so little patience for backward, theocratic meddlers anymore. It would be fine if they were content to apply thier beliefs to their own choices and respect the rights of others to make personal choices as well, but they want to force their backward dogma to become universal. Pity there isn’t a cure for this sort of thinking.

  6. @zephyr: In order to fight the “theocratic meddlers” you will have to find a way to convince them that a fetus should not have the same considerations as a child. 150 years ago, many of the situations facing children could easily be classified as abuse today. The ‘right to life’ crowd believe that a fetus is … well … alive. If throwing your child (that you just gave birth to at your prom) into a dumpster is abuse, then why is it not abuse to do so by forcing an unnatural, early birth-type procedure (and yes, a lot of them had been found in a dumpster–check B. O’Reilly’s rants–from the 90′s iirc)?

    I am not trying to limit the discussion here; I am trying to focus it in a direction that would be constructive.

    Btw, who the hell is Hazeleyes?

  7. Hazeleyes post seems to have disappeared.

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