The Abortion Bill

I hope the House of Representatives takes up the abortion bill that made it out of the Senate.

Yeah, yeah, I know. The Democrats are running around asking, “Why is this necessary.”

Well, first of all, who really wants to argue that people should be allowed to abort a child based on the child’s sex? Defense of that tends to creep out reasonable people. So it puts the pro-abortion crowd in an awkward position.

Second, the base in Georgia has thought for a while that the GOP has lost its way. When the viability of legislation depends more on skirt length than merit, the base tends to get disenchanted with the leaders.

Solid pro-life legislation will at least rally the social conservatives, though it is going to be hard to really rally the fiscal conservatives after this legislative session.

Third, should there be a large hew and cry over the legislation, it puts the spotlight on all the undercover camera investigations of Planned Parenthood workers willingly taking money to kill black babies and covering up acts of statutory rape, etc.

It’s a win all around in my mind. Particularly if it comes to giving social conservatives a bone after having a former Republican Speaker who many social conservatives viewed with a great deal of suspicion.

I think the Republicans in the General Assembly might as well pass this. Though I was originally more than a bit skeptical of the legislation, killing it now would send a bad signal to the people the GOP is going to need to turn out in November.

66 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    So you too are willing to waste even more money that we don’t have on a pointless legal battle just to buy a few votes?

    Says everything, Erick.

    • Icarus says:

      Actually Jeff, it’s an issue that most of the elected Republicans campaigned on, but then forgot about once elected.

      What it says is that at least some are finally starting to confuse what they said when they campaigned with what they actually do when governing.

      That, in my opinion, is a good thing.

      • Jeff says:

        Spending money we actually have on a pointless legal battle is one thing. Spending money we DON’T have on a pointless legal battle is another thing entirely, particularly when we’ve had to furlough teachers, suspend bus routes, and do all kinds of other options that aren’t exactly popular with those same voters General Assembly Republicans are trying to buy off with this move.

        • Icarus says:

          Elections have consequences. It’s what most of these guys and gals promised to do a long time ago. And if you know many pro-life voters, I think you already know that saying we can’t afford it right now isn’t a viable answer.

      • Bucky Plyler says:

        I think it says that the House leadership is not pro-life, particularly the Speaker. People like me are tired of Republicans saying one thing to get elected & then doing another. It’s an integrity issue. I had much rather that they would be honest about their position & then let the chips fall.

        • Jonathan says:

          You’re assuming the state will pay any legal fees. Look up Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007) (http://supreme.justia.com/us/550/05-380/index.html) before you presume the bill fails constitutional muster.

          Second, if there is a civil suit against an abortionist that triggers the constitutional challenge, what grounds will there be for the state to pay legal fees even if the bill fails at the SCOTUS? Answer – none because there is no state actor. No state actor, no legal fees award.

        • B Balz says:

          Mr. Plyler, I agree with you 100%.

          Unfortunately, in Georgia, and many other States where the CC, RTL groups garner a majority of the GOP, even a dog catcher probably would not get elected if they did not commit to being pro-life and pro-NRA.

          Such a position would be ‘political suicide’.

        • Mad Dog says:

          Bucky,

          Name calling is a lot of fun. Can’t say I know any peoples who are ‘anti-life’ so hang up the label ‘pro-life’ as a nisnomer coined just to drive wedge issues.

          So back to the bad boy bill.

          After the fact, who is going to prove the abortion was to kill little Bobby or Betty?

          How many years since Roe v. Wade … how many promises and how many elections … and how many legal challenges …

          Who the GOP controlled the House, Senate, and White House, the GOP didn’t change Roe. Didn’t try. Didn’t care. They get elected on the issue so they must keep the issue alive. [no pun]

          My Gawd, what problems are there to solve after abortion, 10 Commandments on courthouse walls, and a ban on burning the flag?

      • Kellie says:

        So by voting Republican, I have told them I want them to do something about abortion?? I thought I was telling them I wanted a fiscal conservative.

        Looks like I need to stop voting that way.

        • Bucky Plyler says:

          Kellie, if Ralston, etal never claimed to be pro-life, then OK. The problem is that they have claimed to be 100% pro-life. Just be what you are & say it clearly. Then you & I can decide who we want to vote for based on the issue OR not.

          • B Balz says:

            Thank YOU, Kellie, I guess I will have to stop voting that way as well. So, too, my wife, and so on.

            We have heard every GOP candidate tell us they are Pro Life and Pro NRA, because not to do so, is politically unfeasible.

  2. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    I believe some of them that campaigned as pro-life are afraid to actually vote as such. Perhaps some of them don’t believe the things they have said to get elected?

  3. Doug Grammer says:

    You left out where it will be illegal to coerce someone into an abortion, such as Grandma says to the 16 year old, “either get an abortion or get out.” If the Doctor knows this and proceeds anyway, he’s guilty of a crime.

    • Jeff says:

      Why should the doctor be held responsible for the Grandma’s action? The doc provided a legal service to a customer, PERIOD.

      Furthermore, how does one PROVE he “knew” about Grandma’s actions? Does he have to do any investigation as to the merits of granddaughter’s claims? Isn’t such an investigation better left to courts?

      Oh wait, now we’re trying to get COPS involved in a private medical decision/perfectly legal business transaction?

      Police state much?

      • Jonathan says:

        The bill requires that the doctor have actual knowledge of unlawful coercion. Unlawful coercion is defined in the bill. Are you saying folks who knowingly receive stolen goods should not be responsible for their crime? Are you saying that a doctor who has actual knowledge the surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia is being performed on a woman who has been unlawfully coerced into the procedure should be off the hook for their actions?

        No police investigation is needed to comply with the law. The doctor can protect himself from criminal prosecution by directly asking the woman two simple questions:
        Are you being coerced into this abortion by anyone?
        Are you seeking this abortion because of the race or gender of your baby?

          • Jonathan says:

            Doesn’t matter at that point as far as the criminal safe harbor. If the woman is lying, the doctor still has complied with the safe harbor and cannot be criminally prosecuted.

  4. Annie Ethel says:

    As a GOP ProLife gal, I do have the following issues with the bill:
    It doesn’t provide for prosecution of the coercer, only the doctor.
    The penalties lie with the doctor alone – what level of informed consent is going to have to be achieved?
    It runs afoul of Casey pretty clearly – and I believe it is not wise to take it to this Supreme Court, or the Court that will hear it with Obama’s replacement.
    As someone who sat through every hearing of HB 1155 – the House version of the bill – I saw how advocates for the bill used women who had been through awful experiences to get the testimony they wanted. All that was missing was actual puppet strings.
    The reasoning is askew. If a person seeks a tattoo, goes to a tattoo parlor, selects something that would be unwise, the tattoo artist gets consent for the work, but the artist is not responsible for the person making that decision. Let’s say the person getting the tattoo is only doing so because the gang leader has required it of him – it is still not the tattoo artist’s job to determine the level of consent of the person seeking the tattoo. If a woman asks to have her head shaved, the hairdresser would be wise to get something in writing, but it isn’t the hairdresser’s job to find out that she’s doing it to appease her father or boyfriend who has determined it is appropriate punishment for some infraction.
    I wish the Democrats in House Judiciary had gotten on board and adopted the committee substitute offered by Chairman Willard. It was a better bill, would’ve addressed the issue, wouldn’t have burdened the courts and the movement would have opened doors to join with other womens’ crises groups to help women who were in fact being coerced, would’ve helped ensure police involvement and maybe some convictions for domestic violence and other batteries.

    • Jonathan says:

      The substitute offered would have done nothing other than posting a sign that says We can’t perform an abortion if you are being coerced. Not exactly effective.

      All of your examples are comparing apples to oranges. Abortions are generally conducted while the woman is under general anesthesia. It is a surgical procedure, not a tatoo or haircut.

      The bill clearly defines unlawful coercion. The bill clearly provides a simple mechanism for doctors to stay within the bounds of the law and avoid criminal prosecution.

      If you think Casey is still the latest decision on abortion, you need to look up Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007). Compare SB 529 to that decision and think it through.

    • As a GOP ProLife gal, I do have the following issues with the bill:
      It doesn’t provide for prosecution of the coercer, only the doctor.

      Proponents of this bill could care less about the coercer, or the pregnant woman (or really even the fetus once it’s born). The entire point of such efforts is to discourage doctors from providing abortions. They can’t make abortion unavailable by law, so the strategy is to make it effectively unavailable in practice.

      It’s working. In the years shortly after Roe v. Wade, a wave of doctors who were familiar with the horrors of back-alley abortions stepped in and started providing safe and legal procedures. The emerging generation of doctors has no firsthand experience with what things were like before Roe, and have less motivation to enter a practice area that pays poorly and is subject to political (or physical) attack.

      The result is that actual access to abortion is lower today than it was right after Roe. 88% of counties in the U.S. have no abortion provider, and in non-metropolitan areas that figure climbs to 97%. That’s the trend. You can’t overturn the constitutionality of abortion without a heavily stacked Supreme Court… but you can confine it to urban centers, where it will be disproportionately available to “less desirable” demographics that social conservatives would like to see fewer of anyway.

    • HannahCarter247 says:

      “as a GOP Pro-Life Gal”

      I take issue with your first statement because everything you have written shows contrary.

      If you are pro-life why do you have a problem protecting a woman from being coerced against her will?

      Why do you have a problem with saying it’s wrong to kill a child because of it’s race or sex?

      Are you saying it’s okay to kill a child because it’s a girl and you wanted a boy?

      I’m asking these questions because I’m trying to understand why you would support a bill that would only make clinics put up signs versus one that provides more protection for the woman?

      I’m tired of moderate republicans calling themselves “pro-life” when in reality you sell out the majority of the time when it comes time to vote on a “pro-life” bill.

      One more point of information: I challenge you to go to the over 80 pregnancy resource centers in this state and see where they are putting their money. See what they counsel for and you’ll find that adoption is one of the options.

      • Annie Ethel says:

        Ms. Carter:
        I started understanding politics by picketing the Planned Parenthood clinic down the street from my church – I was 6 years old.
        The battery statute covers the elements of the crime you suggest. Passing the bill provides for prosecution of a person who is not the coercer. It is illogical.
        I believe it is wrong to kill a child for any reason, but I also realize that policy objectives are only successful if enacted, and because a majority of voters disagree with me, I can either work for a better goal or shoot myself in the foot.
        The true purpose of the bill is to intimidate doctors and run up their malpractice risks and create a platform for litigation. The intimidation comes from the lack of parameters for a suit or prosecution for an act, and the admissibility of evidence contrary to the written consent of a woman. What this will do is force a malpractice insurance provider to determine, “what is the likelihood there will be any litigation, regardless of the proof of consent provided at the time of the procedure, because a woman experiences regret, or has the hope of a big pay-out, based on current law?”
        What it encourages to happen: a woman sees the possibility of getting some easy cash by settling out of court. All she has to do is say that the gender or race of her child was contrary to the desires of someone else, and find a lawyer. Who does that protect? Don’t pretend it protects women – it seeks to make it too expensive for doctors, health insurance providers, clinics and hospitals to perform the procedures.
        I don’t agree with the belief that it is a choice, but I can also read the Supreme Court’s opinion regarding “undue burdens” and I can count votes.
        I also know what the state courts’ budgets look like. We can barely afford prosecutors as it is. Why isn’t there a Fiscal Note on the bill? Because there is no way to determine the limits of the cost this litigation will have on the courts – and isn’t it the constitutional duty for the Attorney General to defend the laws of the state? Sure, the ProLife movement has magnanimously offered to pony up for the litigation costs, but that doesn’t cover the time and salaries for the judge, court clerks, staff attorneys and the opportunity cost for every other issue before that court.
        Look at the composition of the Supreme Court. There is zero chance of success, because the bill requires incorporating unborn persons as a protected class. Why are you dragging the rest of Georgia down with you?
        I also see how the ProLife movement uses its members and “approval lists” to the disadvantage of any elected official who dares not march in time with the organization, no matter how foolhardy a bill might be, even if that elected official’s votes would accomplish more that the bill proposed.
        What the bill will do is activate pro-choice groups to activate moderately pro-choice voters to remove the “moderates” and replace them with staunch pro-choice candidates.
        way to go

  5. Bucky Plyler says:

    Ralston’s, I meant Willard’s bill would have done absolutely nothing. It was mirroed after a bill passed in Tenn by a Democrat House & Senate. It had no civil penalties tat could be prosecuted.

    Tatoos=babies ???????????????????????????????

      • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

        How can you call killing a human infant a “private medical decision”? It isn’t a tumor you are having removed, it is a life you are ending. It is different from any other medical procedure one might have. You make it sound like it is as simple as having an ingrown toenail removed.

        • Jeff says:

          NGG:

          define “human life”.

          Find a conclusive definition there, and you’re the smartest person that ever lived, because NO scientist or philosopher has EVER been able to come up with a conclusive definition there.

          And as long as there is no conclusive definition, Government should STAY OUT of the decision. Since it is not a public decision, it is inherently a private one.

        • ByteMe says:

          It is indeed a tumor/parasite until it is viable to live outside the womb.

          Nothing more annoying to watch than good Republican social fascists trying to make a bad situation worse.

          • B Balz says:

            Erick’s statement ‘pro-abortion crowd’ is name calling of the first order and I think he ought to ban himself.

            • +1 – it’s not the pro-abortion crowd… it’s called pro-choice for a reason. But then again, southern baptists don’t like choices unless it’s what to have for the revival dinner.

                • McDawg81 says:

                  As a Southern Baptist, I support a woman’s right to choose anything that deals with her body. A baby is not her body. Why would anyone think the choice to MURDER is a valid one?

                  • Okay, then answer this… where does her body end and the “baby” begin? Could she not cut the piece next to whatever that ties her body to the “baby”? You know… like 2 inches up the umbilical cord from the “baby” or whatever?

                    • McDawg81 says:

                      That tired argument is like me asking where your leg ends – is it just below the waist, or just below the neck? To amputate your leg, we could say – just cut 2 inches down from the neck.

                      Of course the baby is dependent upon the mother for the early stages of development. This is NO different than the fact that a 1 week old is totally dependent on someone else – outside the womb.

                      Women have the choice as to when they uncross their legs. They do not have a choice to violate God’s rules (not mine) and murder an unborn child.

                    • Icarus says:

                      At which point, you raise your first contradiction in current GRTL policy.

                      What if the woman didn’t make that choice?

                      What if it is a case of rape or incest?

                  • ByteMe says:

                    Then, McDawg, the woman can CHOOSE to remove it from her body and it can live or die on its own.

                    Personally, I think that they ought to write the law the way the Southern Baptists have always wanted to and throw any woman who gets an abortion into jail and carve the letter “A” into her forehead. I’m sure Jesus told them that was the right way to do this.

                    • McDawg81 says:

                      Icarus – no, I hold the position that abortion is murder.(PERIOD) Once that foundation is established, there can be no “special provisions” that would allow the killing of the most innocent among us.

                      No, ByteMe – I don’t think a revival of the Scarlet Letter is appropriate. I read a story of a woman caught in adultery who was brought before Jesus (as a test). Once he cleared the woman of her accusers, he turned to her with specific instructions – Go, and sin no more. Grace and forgiveness still exists, but they don’t bend the “expectation curve” that God has for us.

                    • Kellie says:

                      To all the men on here – if you don’t want a woman to have the choice of whether or not to have an abortion, then WEAR A CONDOM!

                      There’s my 2 cents. (I expect change) 😉

                    • ByteMe says:

                      McDawg, I notice that you didn’t refute the part about throwing the woman in jail and focused instead on my hyperbole about the letter “A”. Good job clarifying your position. Way to make a bad situation worse, just the way your God intended.

                  • Republican Lady says:

                    You said a women chooses when to uncross her legs. Not always true. Rape and incest are violent crimes and are the man’s choice, not the woman’s or in many cases, the teenager’s, or even younger females. I feel safe in saying that no female of any age prefers rape or incest.

                    Pregnancy protection to prevent conception in consensual acts is not just the woman’s responsibility, it is also the man’s. If he fails to protect himself, then he has years of responsibility for his five minutes of pleasure.

  6. Bugs Dooley says:

    This is the wrong direction if the GOP legislators want to salvage their image — it is this pandering to wacko Social Conservatives (as in Erick’s conspiracy theories involving Planned Parenthood ) that tends to creep out the reasonable people who just happen to be the swing voters you are depending on to come out and vote for you in 2010

  7. Annie Ethel says:

    The Ralston/Willard bill reminded these victims that they are not worthless or abandoned, that they have options, and that if they don’t consent IS a crime. The bill also would remind the managers of abortion mills – which were one of the reported reasons for the bill – what the rules are, and what their burden is when it comes to these procedures are in Georgia currently. What’s not being enforced now?
    PLUS how about we direct some of those ProLife dollars NOT to campaigns or litigation but maybe to helping women in these situations? Maybe alleviate some of the burden placed on adoption lawyers working pro bono?

    • ByteMe says:

      I love the language… “abortion mills”.

      I’ll bet if you could check, most abortions in Georgia are performed at the same place where most babies are born. Maybe we should just refer to them as “puppy mills” instead.

    • Jeff says:

      Annie:

      You have a VERY valid point about the adoption lawyers. If “pro-life” activists worked FOR adoption as fervently as they work AGAINST abortion, there would be a LOT less abortion because there would be a lot MORE adoption.

  8. steveb says:

    To Kellie and other fiscal- but not social- conservatives:

    “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” -Thomas Jefferson

    Your vote for conservatives only for their fiscal restraint is a sad reflection on the spiritual decline of our state and nation- [see quote above from a non-Christian founder of our nation]. In reality, your lack of enthusiasm for defending innocent human life will come back against you when you and I need to be eliminated on the far end of life. Its a death ethic we cannot afford to ignore or decide its less important than fiscal conservatism (which I completely support, btw). I just want to challenge you to re-think what direction we are heading in with the decline in morals and ethics, and simple fiscal restraint is not enough to turn that around.

    • Kellie says:

      Steve – have you ever been pregnant? Do you have any idea of what it’s like and what it does to a woman physically and emotionally? It’s tough in the best of situations. Imagine it in the worst.
      I don’t believe that abortions should be used as birth control but for it to be available for those who really need it we can’t put all kinds of restrictions on it.
      If you don’t like it then don’t have one. I think men should stay out of this argument because their choice ends when they chose to not to use protection.

      • ByteMe says:

        That’s certainly one side of it. However, the guy is often expected to help support the results but doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter beyond the initial decision made with the wrong part of the brain.

        Don’t get me wrong: I’m totally against the whole “Scarlett A” thing and forcing a woman to keep a baby she doesn’t want. I’m just looking at the whole sorry situation and wondering why the “Dad” (using the term very loosely) gets no choice if the woman decides to keep it and then expects the Dad to pay for the next 18+ years.

        Too many sides to the situation to get government in the business of throwing people in jail over it.

      • Republican Lady says:

        Excellent post! I also do not agree with using abortion for birth control but I am not against it for rape, incest, or health of the mother, especially when she already has kids.

  9. fultonrighty says:

    Guess what I just learned, David Staples? The umbilical cord and placenta are formed by the developing little human in there. They is not “the woman’s body either!” Wikipedia has a pretty understandable explanation in articles on each.

    • ByteMe says:

      Then the woman has the right to remove them from her body, since they are — in your logic — not hers. Good luck after that.

  10. fultonrighty says:

    Back to the political issue: cynicism among voters sure comes from these guys who tell us one thing at primary election or general election time, and then subvert our causes under the Gold Dome. Doesn’t Speaker Ralston understand that he may please the Wendell Willard, Jill Chambers, Ed Lindsey and other “resonable moderate Republicans” but alienate the whole social conservative boatload across the state? I don’t get it! He seems much more astute than that, and he has been helpful to previous pro-life efforts. What is the deal? Who is calling his shots?

    • B Balz says:

      Who’s calling the shots, indeed?

      It won’t be the GOP if the ‘social conservatives’ a.k.a. Christian Coalition or Ga Right to Life continue their immoderate stranglehold on the Party because we will march ourselves into the minority on this issue.

      The tired, worn, litmus test of abortion is still a reliable page view driver, political football, and ‘red herring’ that will drive votes at the last, when it counts.

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