A new bill introduced in the Georgia Legislature would ban abortions, declaring that “a fetus is a person for all purposes under the laws of this state from the moment of conception” and setting up what could be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The plan by Rep. Bobby Franklin and several other lawmakers notes that the state’s duty is to protect life “from the moment of conception” and cites the 1973 Supreme Court opinion that created the “right” to abortions itself in proposing its downfall.
Steve Lefemine, who works with the Columbia Christians for Life in nearby South Carolina, said the Georgia plan is a solid attack on the abortion industry, because it uses the concepts established in Roe.
That opinion, he said, affirms that “if” the personhood of the unborn is established, then “of course” the pro-abortion arguments fail.
The new plan in Georgia does exactly that.
“Georgia Constitution, at Article I, Section I, Paragraph II, provides: ‘Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws,’” the legislation states. “Because a fetus is a person, constitutional protection attaches at the moment of conception.”
The exact Roe text states: “[Texas] argue[s] that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment… If this suggestion of personhood is established, the [pro-abortion] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”
Blackmun went on to write that Texas was urging that the fetus is entitled to14th Amendment protection, but that created a dilemma, because Texas had an exception in the abortion ban. “But if the fetus is a person who is not to be deprived of life without due process of law, and if the mother’s condition is the sole determinant, does not the Texas exception appear to be out of line with the Amendment’s command?” he wrote.
Lefemine said last year, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, North Dakota and Georgia had proposals for bills banning all abortions, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri. Tennessee and South Dakota had plans that allowed “life of the mother” exceptions, and Indiana had a proposal to ban abortions except for rape, incest and life of the mother.
Kevin Harris, a lobbyist for the Georgia Right to Life organization, told WND that the plan is very similar to last year’s ban on abortions in the state of South Dakota, except that that law allowed for an exception for the life of the mother.
In that state, as WND reported then, lawmakers aiming to challenge Roe approved the ban and the governor signed it. However, a petition funded by national abortion interests brought the ban to a vote of the residents, and a multi-million dollar advertising campaign convinced them it was too restrictive.
“Only this would not allow the voters to make that decision,” Harris told WND. “If the legislature approves it and the governor signs it it’s the law.”
He said the issue had been proposed for only hours before it had started rallying both pro-life and abortion industry forces.
“Chairman Franklin is a well-respected leader of the pro-life movement,” Harris said. “We want to restore full legal protection from conception to natural death.”
He said pro-life supporters also were considering whether a constitutional amendment also would be needed to accomplish such a ban.
Blackmun also had noted in 1973 that “when those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer [to the question of when life begins.]”
The proposed law, however, answers that: “The General Assembly knows the answer to that difficult question, and that answer is life begins at the moment of conception.”
The legislation also specifically cites the “three decades” since Roe that have revealed the injury to women who have abortions, including studies that show 96 percent of those who have had abortions feel their abortion “had taken a human life.”
LeFemine noted the many states that had various abortion ban proposals on their agendas during the 2006 legislative season, and he expects more and more to follow, and to focus more and more on affirmations of the personhood of the unborn.
“That’s the formula,” he said. “I’m very pleased to see this vision grow.”
A Georgia House committee heard testimony on the proposal from Franklin and others, including Sandra Cano, the “Doe” of the Supreme Court case Doe v. Bolton, a decision issued at the same time as Roe. While Roe created the right to abortion, the Doe opinion created the right to late-term abortions.
Georgia’s proposed law states that it is to “make certain findings of fact; to define certain terms; to provide that any abortion shall be unlawful…”
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