Moral Vacancy at Georgia Right to Life

“As far as I am concerned, Georgia Right to Life has now become the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement Instead of saving souls, they’d rather stone those who are trying to save souls. We need a new pro-life group in Georgia.

The United States House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday evening that would prohibit abortions in the United States after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the time a fetus of normal development begins to feel pain.

The legislation made its way through committee with Democrats claiming the Republicans were again at war with women. Republicans, however, pointed to the horrific acts of Kermit Gosnell and others as evidence of the need for the legislation. With little change the legislation made it out of committee and then arrived in the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives.

The Rules Committee refused to let it out without an amendment excepting rape and incest. To be clear, members of Congress, congressional staffers, and members of the pro-life lobby have all confirmed to me that the legislation would not get a vote at all on the floor of the House without those two exceptions in the legislation.

After twenty weeks the number of abortions performed due to rape and incest are quite small. The percentage most often cited is 0.6%. In other words, 99.4% of late term abortions would be prohibited. National pro-life leaders, long time pro-life members of Congress, and religious organizations were all willing to make that legislative compromise in order to get a vote on the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before Congress since the partial birth abortion ban — a piece of legislation that was vetoed several times before it finally became law.

This, however, was not good enough for Dan Becker and the folks at Georgia Right to Life. Calling other pro-life groups “morally vacant,” Dan Becker declared that this was only a messaging bill that would never get passed, therefore the GOP should go all in with no exceptions.

But then that’s the point, isn’t it? The GOP leadership was not willing to go all in. The leadership blocked the legislation and would not give it a vote at all without those exceptions.

What if the legislation, as amended, could pass and could be signed into law? Would Dan Becker and Georgia Right to Life oppose it? Given their position at this point, we should conclude that they would. The organization calling other pro-life groups around the country “morally vacant” has taken the fringe position that it is better for all children to continue being aborted than to save 99.4% of them.

Think about that for a minute.Dan Becker’s and Georgia Right to Life’s position was crystal clear — amend the legislation to get rid of the very exceptions that got it to a vote or oppose it. Georgia Right to Life took an all or nothing position where lives were at stake and the best they can hide behind was that this is “messaging” legislation. The partial birth abortion ban was too until it actually passed and was signed into law.

Georgia Right to Life spends an inordinate amount of time playing politics and very little actually getting successful pro-life policies passed. It was in spite of Georgia Right to Life that the Georgia General Assembly passed a fetal-pain law.

It is Georgia Right to Life that is morally vacant. Their pharisaical positions leave no room to advance the fight on life. They would rather death continue than some deaths be abated. They seek cover behind their characterization of a piece of legislation and denounce virtually every other pro-life organization in the United States of America.

But ultimately, the exceptions are there and popular because Georgia Right to Life has failed at its mission. Instead of admitting defeat and working for victory, Dan Becker and Georgia Right to Life would now rather defeat their own allies than accept their own failures.

The rape and incest exceptions exist because pro-life groups like Georgia Right to Life have failed to persuade a majority of Americans that those exceptions should not exist. Instead of trying to persuade Americans, Georgia Right to Life would prefer to brow beat politicians who are trying to advance a pro-life agenda.

Where is Georgia Right to Life’s campaign to persuade? Where is their field work? Where is their coordination on the rape/incest exception with pro-life leaders and the public? The rape/incest exceptions exist because a majority of Americans have become convinced of the sanctity of life, but still are not convinced they should tell a rape victim to carry a child to term.

I was one of those Americans. For the longest time I thought we needed a rape/incest exception. It was only after meeting wonderful, caring people who were children conceived through rape that I saw the light. Georgia Right to Life had nothing to do with that. Others in the pro-life movement did. Georgia Right to Life is not out changing hearts and changing minds on the issue. Instead they are issuing press releases that studies show there is less trauma to a rape victim who carries a child to term than has an abortion. Peddling a message without selling it is not convincing. Statements without humanity are no good in this debate.

We got to this point because Georgia Right to Life and all the other pro-life groups have not yet convinced a majority of Americans that those exceptions are not needed. The difference is other pro-life groups were willing to move the ball down the field, accept their failure, and plan a future win on those issues.

Georgia Right to Life, instead, decided to declare their brothers and sisters in the pro-life movement “morally vacant”.

It is time for Georgia pro-lifers to start a new group willing to advance life issues and not play holier than down pharisaical politics with the lives of children. It’s time for Georgia pro-lifers to start a group that is willing to change hearts and minds and help foster a culture of life where it can be done. As far as I am concerned, Georgia Right to Life has now become the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement. Instead of saving souls, they’d rather stone those who are trying to save souls. We need a new pro-life group in Georgia.


  1. Dave Bearse says:

    It’s GRTL doing what many GOP types do—support nothing when they won’t get everything, even when it’s not futile.

    An example is the PPACA needing some tweaks. Church-sponsored health plans were inadvertently not included among the “qualified health plans” that could participate on the exchanges and receive tax credits and apply the subsidies that make health insurance more affordable. Even though key GOP constituency SBC is lobbying for change, it doesn’t appear that Republicans in Congress will cooperate change the PPACA. The GOP instead is more likely to demonstrate what it knows about governing by scheduling a 39th futile attempt at repealing PPACA, since the GOP thinks it needs to be junked. .

    • TheEiger says:

      Church-sponsored health plans were not inadvertently left out of the qualified health plan category. That was on purpose.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        So that explains why Democrats are sponsoring legislation to include church plans, while Republicans refuse to commit.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        So that explains why Democrats have sponsored legislation to include church plans while Republicans as yet to support it.

    • Ghost of William F Buckley says:

      I doubt that, but the effect is the same! At some point politics need to step aside for sound public policy. This is not a message about what Party can solve our problems, it is warning of what may happen if nobody starts to solve our problems.

      Overturning Roe v. Wade is supported by 29% of those polled by Gallup YE ’12; and those polled with ‘no opinion’ has steadily increased from 1989 from 11% to 18% as seen ten graphs down from he’ah:

      “It’s the Economy, Stupid” is what Conservatives need to focus upon: Notice who reduced Federal debt??? It’s for your own good, now bend over, Son, this is going to hurt you more than me….

      Econ301 states that it takes rampant inflation to occur some 18 months after a huge expansion to the money supply, substantiating the Kyle Bass Q&A referenced by Harry, he’ah:

      This argument is tearing the Nation apart; our enemies marvel at our stupidity, as we deconstruct our National Defense sources and methods in real time. Syria looms, Afghanistan over in 2014 because it is so safe now…

      I know abortion is a moral wrongdoing of the first order, yet making it illegal is untenable and unattainable. Before the last General I spoke clearly that we ought (moral construct) not have this discussion right NOW. We should have learned, but instead we continue to offer voters a bite of the S**T biscuit.

      But hey, I’m just the poor ol’ taxpayin’ schmoo, that happened to get an edjumacation.

      Perhaps there is solace in James 4:8:

      Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. For extra solace listen to the last music played on the Titanic before she slipped into the deep, cold sea, lost forever:

      12/12/15 Mark that place in time as the Chinese are wont to say….

      Have a Day!

      • Rick Day says:

        how do you know they didn’t play this on the Titanic?

        Unless your Sun God has now become a Water God, I fail to see how sinking to the bottom of the ocean gets one closer to the Sky God. Your myths are all so confusing to us, Holy Ghost of WFB

        The rest of your authentic southern gibberish is rhetoric to the first degree, which I wholeheartedly endorse!

        Keep up good work, Vaya con Dios, No Hable con Maria etc…

  2. George Chidi says:

    Far be it for little ol’ me to stand between an extreme pro-life group and a shining light of the conservative commentariat while they stand with axes at two paces. When there’s blood on the dance floor, wise men start looking for a girl and a cab.

    However, I think its probably worth deconstructing this a bit in the light of the coming Senate primary. Erick has carefully avoided naming some names in his piece. I feel less circumspect.

    You see, by any sane political standard around abortion politics, the currently-announced Republican primary candidates are an undifferentiated blob. They’re all pro-life. They’re all very pro-life. If there’s even one of them who has a libertarian position on a woman’s right to choose, I haven’t seen it. Phil Gingrey defended Todd Akin. Jack Kingston has a 100-percent rating from National Right to Life. Broun … well, what needs be said. And then there’s Karen Handel, who has the endorsement of pro-life groups from around the country because of the Planned Parenthood-Susan Komen fiasco.

    Georgia Right To Life only makes money when they’re relevant. No one is going to donate to their group if they don’t look like a kingmaker. And the only way for them to be relevant is for them to draw a line differentiating the blob. Never mind whether or not everyone might be (for conservative Republican purposes) on the sane side of the current line. The fact that GRTL is taking an insane position isn’t a mistake. It’s intentional.

    This is a loyalty test.

    GRTL is asking for an act of affirmation, the political equivalent of jumping in a new gang member by getting him to knock over a liquor store. Stupidity is the point. And apparently Paul Broun is blood in — he has pulled his support from the bill. Of course, Broun is insane even under politically-normal circumstances. But we knew that.

    Charlie wrote about this a month ago. Karen Handel has been making the rounds around the country with pro-life groups. Wisconsin, Oregon, New Jersey. But she wasn’t endorsed by GRTL in the governor’s race four years ago because they perceived her as too “pro-choice.” The fact that she has a uterus probably had something to do with that. Were Handel to win the Senate seat, she wouldn’t owe them anything. And if she doesn’t owe them anything, people will be substantially less likely to make donations to the cause.

    In the absurd post-Citizens United political fundraising environment, the internal logic for taking an absurd, extreme stance makes more sense than applauding the field and concentrating on persuading the electorate. The first rule of modern politics is financial survival.

    But the idea that a recognized national leader in the pro-life movement could be damaged on her right by the local folks must be unbelievably frightening to the national Republican Party folks who are wondering if Georgia might produce the 2014 version of Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock. GRTL is essentially demanding that Georgia do just that.

    So I suspect Erick’s note here is the first part of what may become an orchestrated campaign at the national level to tranquilize the fringe. Erick is, soto voce, calling for national money to come in and nuke GRTL from orbit, because it’s the only way to be sure. And I bet they’ll listen. This is going to be a major theme of the Senate race moving forward — the jockeying between local groups trying to compete for attention and cash with high-risk appeals to a tiny sliver of hyper-energized donors, and national groups awash in Citizens United cash wondering how to keep their investments from being capsized by local crazy.

  3. Scott65 says:

    You guys still dont get it. Get out of the bubble. The fact the congress took up an abortion bill (yet another) that is blatantly unconstitutional doesnt seem to bother any of you…especially when we have unemployment way too high, and no plan or answers coming out of the GOP. See this for what it is…a diversion for a party bankrupt of ideas.
    I also find it ironic that you want to use police force to make women take a pregnancy to term that is unwanted and that someone may not be able to afford, yet on the other hand they are trying to gut many of the programs that would assist in caring for BORN children…such as SNAP, welfare of any kind, and the like. When you GUYS see your hypocrisy on this issue, maybe you will have a shred more credibility…this whole argument disgusts me, along with a bunch of men telling women that they have to have invasive procedures (vaginal ultrasounds) that are unnecessary, expensive, and doctors dont want to do them…but then again, they “dont have to look”…to bad women cant “shut that thing down”. Also, guess what, most people are not with you on this and its bad politics right now. Republicans should be running away from social issues as fast as they can but the problem is they dont have anything credible to run to.

    • pettifogger says:

      You may not be wrong about the politics of this.

      But A) “blatantly unconstitutional” seems to imply abortion is a right free from government regulation, which is obviously untrue, and B) you’re using a false dichotomy to claim the GOP is hypocritical for opposing both abortion and social welfare programs.

      Although it is certainly the liberal wish to develop a society in which if people come into the world, the government is to be held responsible for their well being, the resulting “either-or” is requires an ideological leap that you’re (probably purposefully) ignoring.

  4. Harry says:

    The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40

  5. northside101 says:

    Georgia Right to Life is right to oppose the legislation…but not for the reason listed (because there are exceptions for rape and incest). The proper reason to oppose it is that the Constitution doesn’t mention “regulation of abortion” in congressional enumerated powers. Until Roe v Wade in 1973, abortion was largely, if not completely, a state issue, and then regretfully with Roe’s overreach, became nationalized to the point where among other things every Supreme Court judicial nomination becomes Armegeddon. Thus, someone who believe this should be a state issue would oppose a “Freedom of Choice” act (favored by pro-choice forces to codify Roe congressionally), abortion funding but also oppose bans of this type. Otherwise, Congress should then attempt to secure passage of a constitutional amendment whether to ensure abortion access or restrict it.

    “The Constitution grants the federal government no authority to act against common crimes – such as murder and theft. In fact, only three crimes are mentioned in the Constitution–treason, piracy

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