Today’s Courier Herald Column.
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is
vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard
to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?”
This is a question that Georgia voters who chose a Republican ballot for the July 31 st primary will be
given a chance to answer. It is also the pretext for a proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution,
routinely referred to as the Human Life Amendment or the Personhood Amendment. It is the new
litmus test for Georgia Right To Life in their never ending quest to divide the pro-life community in to
the Pharisees and the non-believers.
Some pro-life groups still allows for 3 exceptions – rape, incest, and life of the mother – as exceptions
one may believe in to be considered “pro-life”. Georgia Right To Life, beginning about the time
Republicans began attaining a majority in Georgia politics, moved the goal posts. A careful reading of
the verbiage above contains no exceptions.
Quite the contrary. It not only eliminates all exceptions but also formally expands the battle of those
who want to claim the most purity possible into opposition of in vitro fertilization. Those who are
actively trying to create life will be further burdened by reducing a viable and successful medical option
because of the number of embryos created in the process must be greater than those implanted to
ensure a reasonable chance of success.
Those following Georgia politics and the Right To Life issue should not be surprised by this expansion,
as GRTL President Dan Becker called 2010 Gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel “barren and infertile”
over the issue during the last campaign, going on to tell her that she was refusing to accept God’s will. It
remains a low point of Georgia political campaign history.
Had Georgia Right To Life not broken with the pledges most Republicans (and some Democrats) had
signed which allowed for three exceptions, there would be mutually agreed upon languages to build
legislation over, and work toward winning the hearts and minds of Georgians on this very sensitive
Instead, by moving the goal posts, those running the organization continue to have an issue, instead of a
National Right To Life’s website indicates that 62% of Americans support legal abortion in three or fewer
circumstances, those listed above. It also prominently notes that 93% of all abortions do not occur
under these circumstances.
If Georgia’s pro-life community were actually interested in saving lives by eliminating abortions
tomorrow, they would not be participating in quixotic escapades to demonstrate purity, but would
instead be crafting language that would eliminate more than 9 out of 10 abortions.
Instead of first seeking to find the common ground supported by a majority of Americans, they instead
seek to continue to divide the pro-life community among new lines. Georgians who want to get serious
about saving innocent lives should save the ones that can be saved today rather than pushing a position
that will never meet political or judicial muster.
Just last month, a 10 year old Newton County girl, the victim of rape and incest by her 19 and 21 year
old brothers, was discovered to be pregnant. In April, a 10 year old Columbia County girl gave birth.
What is less innocent about these ten year old girls than the innocent life that this amendment is
designed to protect? Why should anyone other than the child’s family in consultation with their own
clergy be allowed to make the decisions that not only affect the newborn, but the rest of the life of the
abused 10 year old?
The abortion issued used to have the mantra of “winning the hearts and minds”. The ballot question
regarding human life is designed not to win hearts, nor change minds. It is designed to divide.
Voters in Mississippi – who are generally aligned favorably with Georgia’s social conservatives – saw
through this charade and voted down a similar amendment when put before them last November.
Georgia voters should do the same.
Voting yes on this amendment will not save a single life. Instead, it will continue to enable leadership of
an interest group to pursue a quest for perfection that will never end.
Georgia voters should vote no on the ballot question for the Human Life Amendment.