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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ga.'s pro-life Senate not pro-life enough for pro-life House

Like a big-headed baby in a birth canal, Georgia's abortion bill became stuck yesterday when the House decided the Senate's substitute bill wasn't quite pro-life enough.

Like similar pieces of "fetal pain" legislation being pushed by republican lawmakers nationwide, HB 954 was introduced to ban abortion after 20 weeks, the point at which anti-abortion activists insist fetuses can begin feeling pain. The only exception would be in the case of a pregnancy that's a danger to the mother's life or health. Abortions are currently legal in Georgia to 26 weeks.

The House approved the bill in February by a vote of 102-65, and yesterday the Senate approved it as well — but with several changes. For instance, they made a concession that would allow for pregnancies to be terminated after 20 weeks if a fatal congenital or chromosomal defect will make it impossible for a baby to live once it is born. Basically, so a woman won't be forced to carry a baby to term just to watch it die. They also eased criminal penalties

Pro-life House members don't like the new, "weaker" version of their fetal pain bill.

When the Senate's version went back to the House yesterday for approval House Speaker David Ralston said:

"The Senate has been saying for the last couple of years they are a very pro-life body. We have given them an opportunity to step up to the plate and join with us this session. ... Now we are at the point where we can really pass and sign a bill that will save the lives of many unborn children in Georgia, and now they have decided to tuck and run."

Here's the most recent version of HB 954, with the Senate's amendments.

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