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Georgia's New Abortion Law — Leading the Way or a Step Back in Time?

With the governor's signing of HB 954, Georgia became the seventh state since 2010 to sign a similar bill limiting abortions after 20 weeks. So is Georgia helping lead the way or is it a step back in time?

Tuesday Gov. Nathan Deal made it official, signing the controversial bill limiting abortions. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Doug McKillip (R-Athens) bans most abortions after 20 weeks.

“Today, we are reaffirming Georgia’s commitment to preserving the sanctity of all human life,” Deal said in a news release. “This legislation provides humane protection to innocents capable of feeling pain, while making an important exception for in the case of medically futile pregnancies.”

According to an article in Athens Online, the law differs from the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidelines, which allows states to limit abortions when a fetus is considered capable of surviving outside the womb, generally considered to be about 23 or 24 weeks. McKillip’s bill is based on the fact that a fetus is considered able to feel pain at about 20 weeks. Not everybody agrees with this science though, including some doctors.

The version of House Bill 954 that Deal signed was modified to allow exceptions for medically futile pregnancies. Georgia is one of seven states to sign a similar version of this bill, originally introduced in Nebraska in 2010.

So what do think? Is Georgia’s adoption of the law an indication that the state is on the leading edge of the direction of the abortion issue — or is it a step back in time as opponents claim?

Grant May 02, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Not only is it medically unfounded and scientifically absurd but it is also substantially flawed in that by the language of the bill "pregnancy" can be declared a full two weeks before fertilization . This is what happens when medically ignorant politicians attempt to meddle in the realm the dont belong to pander to mouth breathing idiots and religious zealots. Oh, and in other news, it wont serve to prevent a single abortion !
Shanuka Jackson May 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Honestly, I don't necessarily feel that this particular bill changes much of anything; however, the spirit of it is certainly taking a step back in time--in a bad way. Limiting or making abortion illegal will not stop abortions, nor will it stop unwanted pregnancies (as the past has shown...and that was before it became socially acceptable to have sex before marriage). And why would anyone want a woman who does not want a baby, cannot afford a baby, or is not capable of caring for a baby to carry one for 9 months and give birth? Many such mothers would need the assistance of social services such as welfare and/or affordable health care, things that the people who are anti-abortion are usually against. What do abortion opponents think happens to unwanted children after they are born? They often end up wards of the state, recipients of welfare, the product of poorly equipped parents, or worse. The idea that these women would take care of themselves throughout the pregnancy, deliver a healthy baby, and offer it up for adoption where it would immediately be snatched up by a couple desperate to have a child of their own is, unfortunately, a fallacy. Yes, that will happen in some cases, but those are same people who are choosing that route NOW even when abortion is a legal option. This is an instance where the right of the adult woman (and her husband or boyfriend if involved) needs to supersede the right of an unborn fetus that cannot survive outside the womb.
John Cook May 02, 2012 at 05:57 PM
If the baby can feel pain, don't inflict pain. That is logical and humane. At times our society seems twisted and cruel. We demand humane treatment of animals. Our courts give harsh sentences for inhumane treatment of animals, but are often lenient on repeat child abuse offenders. Thus, babies and children seem less important than dogs and cats. Federal guidelines are currently 24 weeks. The new law is 20 weeks (almost 5 months). After that let's be humane. That doesn't seem like too much to ask. The mark of civilization (civilized society) is that its civilized members protect the weak and vulnerable.
John Cook May 02, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The only thing the law changes is adding a little civility back into our civilization. The only thing it forces is that a decision be made 4 weeks earlier regarding whether to carry a baby to term. And it treats an unborn baby who can feel pain with a little respect and humanity. At 20 weeks the baby has eyes, nose, mouth, fingers, and toes. If he/she responds to pain, be humane.
Brian Crawford May 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM
The only purpose this law serves is to give Republican politicians election year talking points. Our state legislature is a joke.
John Cook May 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Georgia does not seem to be "leading the way" with this legislation. Nebraska passed the 20-week limit in 2010. Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama enacted the 20-week limit in 2011. Legislation with the 20-week limit have been introduced and debated in several states this year, including versions enacted in Arizona and Georgia. Opponents admit that the medical research regarding pain for the unborn might have merit, even though it is debated. They fear that if they challenge the laws with a weak court case, it would be heard by the Supreme Court and could be disastrous to their cause.
Grant May 03, 2012 at 11:50 AM
The Republican ideal of "smaller less intrusive government " demonstrated once again. Government so small it can fit in a uterus!
Bonnie May 03, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Taking a life is taking a life!
Ladywrench May 03, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I was just ready to post my comment and Bonnie said it best... A life is a life!! Abortion is abortion, I don't care how you look at it. Its a creation, a gift and the world just wants to throw away that which isn't "acceptable"?. It's not just a "blob" as some would believe. It's a human, regardless if it's 9 mo. or 2 days. There is something going on, developing, and has cells producing. Just like your body does everyday. It creates new cells of all kinds, but because you aren't in the womb, that makes it ok for you to live and not the other? Quit having sex without protection, but better yet, don't have sex at all unless you are ready to raise a child. What happened to our society that the "flesh" desire overrules if a pregnancy occurs? It's not just pregnancy, but AIDS, STD's. Then you infect others and the cycle goes round and round. God is getting very tired of all the sin that mans creating and will destroy us in time. We were not created to live a life of immorality and then kill it if we don't like the consequences. God gave us life and He is the one who can take it away. Not humans. We are not the judge, but He is! He reigns! He can wipe out a whole nation if he chooses. He did it before and He will do it again. So heed the message, because if we don't change our ways, we won't be here very long. That's a promise and you never know when it will happen!
Grant May 03, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Wow Lady You speak for God? Exactly which God has brought you on as His personal spokesperson? I do agree with at least a bit of what you say , the ONLY productive way towards fewer abortions is increasing the availability and use of birth control. Teach our kids the how's whats and why's and make certain they are aware that protections is available , easily accessible and functional. Government's dont prevent abortion , birth control does
Karsten Torch May 03, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I love how the same ones who rail against this kind of legislation and seem to be OK with killing the unborn are the same ones who make the most noise about capital punishment. So....a life really isn't a life at all, is it? I just don't understand why this is a difficult concept to grasp. Some people believe it's murder. Some studies show that the fetus feels pain. Maybe some don't, but we'd rather err on the side of 'what the hell? Who cares?' It's also really hard to try to encourage people to maybe try NOT to get pregnant before they're ready, right? Let's discourage this behavior, maybe. Now we embrace this idea, and have shows about it, and let kids stay in high school when they're pregnant, and we're surprised that teen pregnancies are on the rise and the need for abortions is also on the rise? Good idea to try to take religion and morality out of our culture, that's working really well for us....
Tammi May 08, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Abortions need to be stopped!!!! It IS murder!!! Aren't you glad your mother didn't abort you?
Rebecca McCarthy (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Dear Tammi, I had an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fetus was lodged in the fallopian tube. Had I not had an abortion, I would have ruptured and died. Sometimes an abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother. it was in my case. So I have to disagree with you that abortion needs to be stopped. Abortion should remain a decision between a woman and her doctor. Not between a woman and a politician.
Tammy Osier May 09, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Rebecca, that is a legitimate reason - one of the only ones that is truly medically necessary. Doctors have always had that as a legitimate medical procedure where the life of the mother was at risk. What is being discussed is not what's rruly medical, but "elective" abortion - a totally different thing.
Glen Burgess July 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Shanuka, if a girl/woman cannot afford to raise a child she shouldn't be having unprotected sex. It's as if those who desire abortion on demand think they should be able to eat their cake, ice cream and toppings and not expect to get fat, how ignorant. THERE IS ALWAYS A PRICE TO BE PAID. ALWAYS.
Grant July 26, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Please provide me some evidence where the laws against abortion in any particular society have any real effect on preventing the procedure? I'll wait here......indefinitely because , in the history of ever this has never happened.
Karsten Torch July 26, 2012 at 03:28 PM
It's funny how laws against things don't really ever change the occurences of those things. Guns, including assault weapons, alcohol, drugs, whatever. Truth is, people will find a way to do it regardless of what laws you pass. But when it comes to killing others, should we make it easy? People still murder people all the time. Look at what just happened in Colorado. Does that mean we should just go ahead and repeal any laws against that sort of act?
Karsten Torch July 26, 2012 at 07:00 PM
No, that's not the only way. The other way (and the one I prefer) is to make people responsible for themselves, to educate them that engaging in sex may just - I know this is going to be hard for some to believe - result in a pregnancy. Let's let parents be responsible for their children and expect them to tell their kids the hows and whys of the way this world works. When I was young, if a girl in high school wound up pregnant, she wasn't in that school the next day. It was frowned upon. Not the case anymore. Now they have shows about these kids, with teenagers all over the place thinking they could be on one of those shows if only they got pregnant. We've taken the stigma off being a single teen mom and celebrated it. "There's nothing wrong with it. We should do all we can to help these poor children, help them out, and maintain their self-esteem." I call BS. Self-esteem isn't something you should be given - it's something you earn. We've forgotten that.
Jeffrey Allen July 26, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I think this law is a step in the right direction. By show of hands, who thinks it should be legal to suck the brains out of a child that can feel pain? Anyone? No...? Okay then. I think it's reasonable enough to try to protect those most incapable of protecting themselves. While there are certainly gray areas such as medical futile cases and situations that endanger the health of the mother that deserve consideration, if we are strictly talking about abortion in matters of convienience, I say late term is a reasonable place to start. (Standing by to hear how much of a moron I am for taking the position that preventing abortions somehow prevents abortions....)
George Wilson July 26, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Rebecca, Well said!
George Wilson July 26, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Brian, We are in a race to see who gets to the bottom first.So far, we are gaining on Mississippi,Louisana,and Alabama and maybe even Texas..
Grant July 27, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Jeffy to the rescus with his own brand of hyperboyle! Jeff writes "By show of hands, who thinks it should be legal to suck the brains out of a child that can feel pain" Never mind that a host of medical experts testified that this was not the case and the legislature simply ignore the evidence presented in favor of their opinions. As we all know truth doesnt matter anymore> You're not a moron for wanting to prevent abortions Jeff, but you are if you believe this law will do anything of the sort

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