Waging War Against Friends

I am an ally of Georgia Right to Life. I love what they do and how they do it. I am a conservative, evangelical, Christian pro-lifer. But I hate the one exception litmus test that has apparently benefitted Bill Stephens.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand, religiously, why it is there. I understand that a child, even an unborn child, should not be punished for the sins of the father. But I also understand as a practical, political and policy matter, that we will never advance the goal of ending abortion if we say that a woman should be forced to carry to term a child conceived through rape.

I would fully support any woman who does so. They have my respect and my compassion. But trumpeting the issue does not help with swing voters. Yes, I understand that the issue is not about politics — it is about principle. More power to GRTL. Most of my friends fully disagree with me on the issue.

I just know that I could never look into the eyes of a loved one and tell her she must be forcibly reminded for nine months that she was raped. I’d hope she did not have an abortion, but I could not stand in her way should she choose to. And I think the majority of the public is with me in that.

At one time, GRTL and other pro-life groups had three exceptions: life, rape, and incent. The last two are no longer good. Frankly, I think most (though not all) politicians who say they are advocates of the one exception are liars — I know more than a dozen legislators who have endorsements from various prolife groups because they support the one exception rule who will privately heap scorn.

The result is that GRTL and other prolife groups that refuse to give their endorsement unless a politician only supports the “life exception,


  1. Three Jack says:

    What is even more curious is GRTL endorsing Walter Ray on the Democrat ballot for Secretary of State. Ray was forced out as Chairman of Pardons and Parole during a corruption investigation. Never charged, but not far from the eventual convicted culprits.

    GRTL’s endorsement (or lack thereof) means squat. What little credibility they had was lost with this one exception rule. Karen Handel should wear it as a badge of honor that Swift did not support her.

  2. Dawgsrock says:

    Ditto. I really like this line – “Frankly, I think most (though not all) politicians who say they are advocates of the one exception are liars — I know more than a dozen legislators who have endorsements from various prolife groups because they support the one exception rule who will privately heap scorn”

  3. Nobody likes abortion outside of the 5% or so of the population that is obsessed about it (on either side of the spectrum). And nobody that is a voter likes thinking about abortion for more than a second or two. Generally, the less the said the better because both sides understand that their arguments start to take on water the more one thinks about them.

    Many years ago the left went too far on the issue and started to lose voters because of that. I wonder if the right hasn’t started in that direction with directives such as this one. If Bill Stephens wife was raped, do you really think he’d make her carry the child to term if she conceived?

    I think that’s a good question for the press to ask candidates who have the right to life endorsement. Even better would be to ask the candidates’ wives! I would prefer there be as close to 0 abortions as possible in this country, but I would never call myself a member of RTL. The movement’s focus on the legality of ending a pregnancy is a false target. Who really believes that abortions would end (or even significantly decline) if it was deemed illegal? Gambling is illegal in this state and yet if I had to guess I would say it’s at least a billion dollar industry here, not including the lottery.

    The biggest problem for voters like me is why is there no credible group out there that represents this position? Outside of Bob Casey in Pennsylvania the playing field is pretty empty.

  4. landman says:

    Erick,well spoken and to the point.This issue has been far to politicized by both parties.While I strongly value the sanctity of life,Im also a realist and believe there are and should be exceptions to every rule.I also concur that many who espouse this hardline stand would be the first ones sneaking out of town were they to be faced with the rape of a daughter or wife.

  5. Josh says:

    One question I have is: How much of an impact would this be in the republican primary? Specifically the SoS race, since it is the one that only one person was endorsed.

  6. Harry says:

    Very little. I for one support the GRTL position on rape and incest (you need to read the stories of children born from rapes to understand my point of view), and my prioroty is the overturn of Roe v. Wade. But, the SOS has no connection with the issue. Handel is the most competent person in the race, she will continue to bring improvements and efficiencies to the office, and I think her views are conservative enough. We don’t always need a litmus test.

  7. Guys,

    We don’t have ENOUGH abortions.

    In fact, think of how much better the world would be if Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, Michael Jackson and others had been aborted. There would have been no holocaust, no 9/11 and no Neverland Ranch!

    Unaborted babies are the root of all evil…when was the last time an aborted fetus blew up a building, killed a minority, or molested a child?


  8. duluthmom says:

    I completely agree with you that the one rule exception does nothing but alienate swing voters. Any candidate who panders to GRTL and touts that endorsement will automatically lose my vote. As a moderate, I can support a pro-life candidate, but not one who has zero empathy for a victim of rape or incest. (And Harry, maybe you need to have been a victim like myself to understand my point of view.)

  9. atlantaman says:

    As a pro-lifer I’ve always struggled with the third exception “Rape” and can still be quite wishy washy on it.

    If you are pro-choice to begin with then the debate over the third exception would naturally seem appalling since you’ve already decided the decision should be the mother’s choice.

    In order to appreciate the issue you have to view it from the Pro-Life perspective. A Pro-Lifer views abortion as killing a human life. To me there is no difference in the “life aspect” of a child that is one month outside of the womb or one month before birth, it’s still a living human. So to be intellecutally honest it would be the equivalent of a mother of a 2 month old baby having permission to kill the baby since she was a victim of a rape and could not get the image of the rape out of her mind everytime she held the child.

    Obviously that is ridiculous and would never happen, but like a previous poster stated it’s because you can see, feel, and hear the baby.

    Like I said before I struggle with the issue since I know it would be very difficult to force a mother to have a baby from a rape, but there are times when I feel as if I’m not being intellectually honest.

  10. Jeff Emanuel says:

    One benefit of being an outside organization is that you can be as idealistic as you like. An example of this would be think-tanks like Club for Growth, Heritage foundation, or the Cato Institute, which are advocate pure conservative or libertarian ideas without the real-world factors of practicality and applicability interrupting their assessments and recommendations.

    Right to Life is similar to these; they can stand up and advocate for the most idealistic abortion-related circumstances without having to actually do the work to get their policies enacted, fight the ensuing battles in the courts, or even, as Erick and Chris pointed out, deal with the repercussions of their policy preferences with respect to forcing a loved one to carry a baby conceived by rape to term–in large part because these idealistic policies will never make it through the legislative process.

    While the sticking to principle of GRTL is admirable, and no conservative wants to inject politics into life and death situations, cooler and more pragmatic heads must prevail on issues like abortion. I have often used what I call the “Shawshank analogy” in describing how I think the best, most long-term-effective method for eliminating the vast majority of abortions: rather than immediately enacting sweeping, drastic, and unpopular legislation which is bound to galvanize pro-abort support and to be thrown out by courts, the pro-life movement should continue to chip away at the issue as though at a stone wall with a rock hammer. Eventually, with enough dedication and small changes, especially those focusing on access to information (like the ones passed in Georgia earlier this year), we will be able to tunnel our way out of the “prison” that is an abortion-on-demand society.

    I was lucky enough to speak with conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly for a little while back in February, on this and other issues. In regard to the movement to stamp out abortion, she scoffed at the blanket ban on abortion passed by South Dakota earlier this year and maintained that, with the current composition of the Supreme Court (5-4 liberal, with the increasing defection of Kennedy), an attempt to immediately end abortion through law could well set the entire pro-life movement back 30 years or more.

    I agree with this to a large degree. As a pro-life conservative, I want to see abortions restricted to the most extreme and rarest of situations…namely, in my mind, rape and life of the mother. However, while GRTL and other organizations can staunchly advocate that that be law NOW, they (again) do not have to do the legwork to actually see such policy through to passage and enactment. As such, their endorsement may be valuable, but it cannot be everything in a system where people actually have to have a pragmatic approach to legislation in order to get it passed and in order to avoid it being overturned by today’s courts.

  11. duluthmom says:

    Memberg-do you mean father’s rights as it pertains to this issue of rape and incest exceptions? If so, I can’t imagine anyone sane would believe that the rights of a rapist should take precedence over the rights of a victim.

  12. The Busdriver says:

    You guys are making it sound like the ONLY reason GRTL went with Stephens over Handel is because of their different views on exceptions. The fact that Handel threw $425k at Abortions R’ Us (Planned Parenthood) as Commissioner certainly didn’t help her case.

  13. JRM2016 says:


    The $425K you are referring to was appropriated by the State Legislature. Handel can no more redirect those funds than she can monies appropriated for fire or police protection. Interestingly, your boy Bill was a yes vote on the budget that included that line-item. Does that make him pro-choice?

  14. Batman says:


    Actually, you’re wrong because that $425,000 was from a federal grant, that became a part of the state budget because the federal government gave it to state and its agencies, who in turn gave it to Fulton County. The legislature and state agencies did not tell Handel how to spend this money, except that the specific grant she cited it being from is to be used for helping the health of mothers and kids. Instead, she used it on planned parenthood. Yeah, way to mis-use federal grant money.

    Her excuse, and it is wrong, was to blame all of the Republican legislators and even the Governor who approved and signed the budget for making her do it. Sounds like a bad move. She’s blaming everyone else for something that is her fault, and she is at the same time admitting she did it. I didn’t even really have a problem with Handel before, but this is a pretty ridiculous thing she is doing. If I were a Repubilcan legislator, I’d be pissed.

  15. Bill Simon says:

    For someone who is SO sure they know what they’re talking about, Batman sure likes to hide behind a pseudonym…just in case he/she/it is discovered to be incorrect in his/her/it’s assertion(s).

  16. JP says:

    I say that the Left should allow an overturn of Roe, in that it would be left to the states–and abortion allowed in some states but not all may be the best compromise. Ultimately no-one wants to see the rates rise, but a solution that makes it illegal everywhere wont’ fly either.

  17. 4ofspades says:

    It’s nice to see that you can read Katie’s wonderful press releases. Or should I say Katie, nice job quoting yourself.

  18. bowersville says:

    “Federal government gave it(our tax money?) to state and its agencies, who gave it to Fulton County…?” Why didn’t the State send it back to be returned to it’s rightful owner, the tax payer? Besides, put up some links so we can verify your claims. (Other than some corny press release.)

  19. Batman says:

    Yeah, I read Stephens’ press releases, along with many other people, and I also read Karen Handel’s sorry press releases too. That’s why I quoted from both of them. Sorry, I’m not anyone named Katie. Bill, what does it matter? I don’t know you anyway. Unless you happen to know 19 year old male college students who are at home for the summer. Funny how all of you simply try to change to subject, rather than trying to combat with any evidence. Only Bowersville had the balls to combat with something different. The state didn’t give it back because it was federal grant money, the state wasn’t spending it, and it wasn’t the states to decide where to spend it.

  20. bowersville says:

    I’m just quessing here, the federal governmnet decided where to spend the money. Not Stephens or Handel, nor the State.

  21. bowersville says:

    My thoughts, i’m feed up with this riotous earmark spending from Congress, be it Republican or Democratic, or the Statehouse, or the Fulton County Commission.

  22. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Spades/Steve Handel: Should you really be calling others out on being on staff?

  23. 4ofspades says:

    Batman/Busdriver –

    Let me see if I can follow the logic here. Stephens issues a press release slamming Handel for funding abortions, through Planned Parenthood. Handel responds that the county passed through funds as the state mandated for family planning. Stephens then agrees that the mandate came from the state, but it actually started with the federal government. Nice of Stephens to agree with Handel.

    I’m not in the government, but have worked with some government agencies in my career. Typically if a government is looking to get services they issue a RFP (request for proposal) in that document it outlines the services which are required to be performed. Numerous organizations then respond to the RFP, the staff then picks the winning vendor. It would appear that Planned Parenthood was the winning vendor in this mandate.

    As a state senator one would hope that he understands that it is illegal for a government to provide abortion services.

  24. Demonbeck says:

    Yes, but by providing funds to Planned Parenthood for other services, it allows them to free up funding that would be otherwise appropriated to those services and move it to less desirable services (ie:abortion) provided by PP.

    At least that is the argument against the federal government’s funding of the UN’s Family Planning Association arm. (The one that supposedly handles forced abortions in China.)

  25. duluthmom says:

    Please read my link on the true percentages of services provided by PP and then explain how you know that the money is being directed toward abortion services versus health education. As 4ofspades pointed out, the government does not pay for abortions except in instances of rape, incest, and life endangerment and that is only done via Medicaid–the Hyde Amendment was responsible for that. (And for a 12 year period of time even rape and incest wasn’t covered.)
    Any abortion services are paid for by the women themselves, leaving the funding in question as strictly for other health-related services.

    The latter issue that you are talking about is known as the Gag Rule. The idea is that providers of family planning services are not allowed to provide INFORMATION about abortion options or provide abortions in the three exceptions we’ve discussed.

    For more information:

  26. Batman says:

    The state did not mandate that it was for that, and Stephens did not agree to that or say it was a state mandate, at least not in a press release. IT WAS A FEDERAL GRANT, and the federal government decided the area to which the money should be spent. In HANDEL’s own press release she cited the money as coming from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which is a FEDERAL GRANT.

    The grant money is then given to the state and its agencies. Local governments, like Fulton County, then apply to the state and receive the grant money.

    THEN governments like Fulton go through a process like you described yourself 4ofSpades. This is a common process, I evened learned about budget processes like it in a class this past semester. The problem is that you blame it on the state, which is flat out wrong. The state legislature did not mandate it for planned parenthood, planned parenthood made a bid to Fulton, who then accepted it. So in essence, Karen Handel should have realized that it is illegal for the government to provide abortion services. Oh wait, she admitted that in her press release. That means she admits she broke the law.

    But, simply you cannot blame it on the state legislature because they did not mandate it for planned parenthood. You won’t find such a mandate in the state budget, period.

  27. 4ofspades says:

    I have to be honest with you. I don’t understand your logic in falsely accusing Handel of funding abortions. Your argument makes no sense. You may want to read duluthmom’s post.

    As an off topic observation, it’s interesting that some Stephen’s supporters like movie characters, Raspail, Batman

  28. Demonbeck says:

    Duluthmom –

    The state has a lot of roads to take care of. Currently, the federal government provides monies for the Georgia DOT to do just that. However, if that money was not made available, then the state of Georgia would have to pick up the tab and some tough budget issues would have to be decided.

    Same goes for Planned Parenthood. If the state or federal government was not proviing money to go towards PP’s other services, then they would have to make some tough decisions when it comes to their entire budget.

    I apologize for not spelling it out more clearly earlier.

  29. Batman says:


    The logic behind Fulton County approving the use of federal grant money to planned parenthood is sound, it is not false,it makes senses, and if you can’t follow it then that means you don’t understand very basic things. As to what you may be talking about specificaly dealing with abortions, please look at where you falsely accused Stephens, the entire state legislature, and the Governor of funding abortions when you previously posted:

    “As a state senator one would hope that he understands that it is illegal for a government to provide abortion services.”

    So after laying out the argument showing it was Handel annd Fulton County, not the state, I took a jab at the comment you made by saying:

    “So in essence, Karen Handel should have realized that it is illegal for the government to provide abortion services. Oh wait, she admitted that in her press release. That means she admits she broke the law.”

    Sorry if you can’t take it, but you said it first, and that’s the only reason I replied to it and said it. It was just a jab at what you said.

    As for the name, well, no one can deny how much batman rules. Why are you four of spades? Why not 6 of clubs, jack of diamonds, or ACE OF SPADES! That would be real cool.

  30. duluthmom says:

    Demonbeck: “If the state or federal government was not proviing money to go towards PP’s other services, then they would have to make some tough decisions when it comes to their entire budget.”

    Yeah, they would. And the first would be cutting contraceptive services to low income women who receive them on a sliding fee scale according to income. That’s a smart pro-life move.

    As I said in my previous post, the abortions are 100% funded by the women themselves (unless Medicaid pays under the 3 exceptions)–average cost being around $400 + a $35 follow up visit.

    Not supporting PP is shortsighted and foolhardy because it merely cuts preventative services to clients (83% of their clients come for that and that alone) resulting in guess what…more unintended pregenancies and more abortions.

    If people truly want to end abortion, they need to fund the organizations that are on the front line preventing them from being necessary in the first place.

  31. Demonbeck says:

    “If people truly want to end abortion, they need to fund the organizations that are on the front line preventing them from being necessary in the first place. ”

    Federal funding can’t go to churches.

  32. Bill Simon says:

    Sure it can…that’s what Bush and the frickin’ GOP wants to happen. After all, in Bush’s mind, the federal government should just be an extension of his church.

    All you have to see is his immediate Executive Order on “faith-based” institutions being allowed to bid for government grants. The kicker is, there is ZERO auditing going on as to how this money is spent.

  33. Demonbeck says:

    Actually, Bill my post was merely a smart ass comment to draw this stemwinder to a conclusion. I enjoy hearing others opinions on abortion, I just get tired of arguing the same points with four different people over and over again.

  34. Demonbeck says:

    “Yeah, but we have the same problem with grants to PP. ”

    Peach Pundit got a federal grant? Someone needs to call Citizens Against Government Waste.

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