Sometimes you have to realize that tweets and announcements can be misleading or misinformative. Republican leaders have thrown science out the window and passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Still, the bill ended up not fully banning abortions beyond that point allowing abortions if a woman’s life was in danger or if the fetus was deemed to be too congenitally or chromosomally defective.
The original bill was sponsored and written by Representative Doug McKillip of Athens, Georgia. McKillip and House Speaker David Ralston initially balked at the compromise over highly deformed fetuses. Simply, the compromise included language about what defined “medically futile” and “incompatible with sustaining life after birth” mean. McKillip also agreed with a provision from the Senate that would prevent doctors to be sued as a result of the new law.
The emotional nature of the debate spilled over into the lobby, as the head of Georgia Right to Life and a representative of a doctor’s organization almost came to blows outside the Senate.
GRTL president Dan Becker and John Walraven, executive director of the Perinatal Infertility Coalition of Georgia, had a heated verbal exchange that became physical Thursday. A state trooper standing nearby spoke to both men and to witnesses but no charges were filed.
“We commend the Legislature,” Becker said later, despite not fully endorsing the compromise. “This is one of the toughest pro life laws in the nation. We will not comment on support, not support, endorse, not endorse. It will save roughly 1,500 lives a year.”
But the emotion spilled over to the other side, too. Senate Democratic women for the second time this session walked out after HB 954 passed their chamber. Sporting yellow police tape, they marched into the hallways and, joined with other HB 954 opponents, shouted “we will remember!” loud enough to be heard through closed doors. “The GOP war on women is alive and well in Georgia,” said Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta. Within the hour, the bill passed the House on a 106-59 vote. Democrats turned their backs on McKillip in protest.
The Republican assault on the rights of women has begun to cost them dearly in the long run, and that includes these provisions stripping abortion rights from women.