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The uterus police may be phenomenon that exist only in the minds of some politicians in Georgia, but as Associated Press reporter David Crary argues, the trend of states limiting abortion rights could reach the national level this election season. The peach state is not alone in its push for personhood, but it remains to be seen if that push will be successful in Georgia or in the U.S. as a whole.
In 2011, State House Rep. Bobby Franklin tried to pass an extreme Personhood Bill that went so far that, in addition to equating abortion at any stage with murder, it would have required reporting of and investigation into all miscarriages by the “uterus police” or face felony charges. Franklin died a year ago, but a cadre of Georgia GOP politicians is here to carry on his legacy.
In May, Georgia lawmakers passed a “fetal pain” bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, except “to save the life of the mother and if the fetus has extreme defects that make survival unlikely.” Governor Nathan Deal, who ultimately signed the bill into law, expressed his feelings that the bill “provides humane protection to innocents capable of feeling pain.” Georgia Right to Life thinks the bill still doesn’t go far enough, lamenting the exemption for pregnancies in which “the fetus is likely to die after birth.”
In addition to severely restricting the permissible situation in which late-term abortions could be performed, authored by State Representative Doug McKillip (R-Athens) the bill also requires “any abortion performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy be done in a way to bring the fetus out alive.” Neither is there any exception in the bill for rape or incest.
But don’t worry: Doug McKillip, a “smelly diaper” whom the State’s Democratic Party urged Democratic voters to vote against on a GOP ballot, lost his most recent GOP primary election to Regina Quick. Regina Quick would not have supported the fetal pain bill as it “intrudes on decisions that she says are better left to women and doctors.” No Democrat will challenge Quick for District 117’s House seat.
The Georgia governor’s office has a rich history of its own. Former Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Karen Handel was enlisted by the Susan G. Komen Foundation as VP for Public Policy and tasked with orchestrating the organization’s highly controversial defunding of Planned Parenthood. Nathan Deal, only governor since 2011, already voted the fetal pain bill into law. Deal’s predecessor, Sonny Perdue, was responsible for both Georgia’s informed consent and 24-hour waiting period Women’s Right to Know Law in 2005 and the Full Disclosure Ultrasound Act in 2007. Georgia also requires notification of a parent for minors seeking abortions.
The Republican Primary Ballot, which voters replied to on July 31, also included the following personhood question (which, being non-binding, really just polled voters):
“Should 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 question was supported by two-thirds of Republican primary voters in Georgia, apparently placing the question on the state-wide ballot in 2014.
Oh, Georgia, but your peaches are so delicious.