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Friday, March 30, 2012

Republican legislators win war on women, exclaim 'We're goin' to Disney World'

A majority of Democratic house members, led by the democratic women draped with caution tape, stood with backs turned when the conference committee report was presented on the HB 954.
  • Joeff Davis
  • A majority of Democratic house members, led by the democratic women draped with caution tape, stood with backs turned when the conference committee report was presented on the HB 954.

Feel that, ladies? That was the unpleasant sensation of elected officials chipping away at your rights.

But this isn't about what YOU feel. This is about what FETUSES feel, OK? Republican lawmakers submitted HB 954 based on the suspect supposition that that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.

Here. Read this.

In a recent paper in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law School and Sadath Sayeed of Harvard Medical School note that there is no conclusive evidence that fetuses can feel pain at that point in gestation, nor are they considered viable.

While there's an established body of evidence that fetuses start developing the biological pathways related to pain sensation at this stage, there is not enough data to suggest that they can actually experience it. The bulk of the scientific literature on the subject indicates that the brain connections required to feel pain are not in place until at least 24 weeks. The lawmakers and anti-abortion groups arguing for the 20-week bans are "espousing a view that aligns with the political hope" rather than medical evidence, says Sayeed, who is both a neonatologist and a lawyer.

But, whatever.

The bill that the House originally passed didn't make any concessions for extenuating circumstances — not for instances of rape or incest, nor for women who are carrying fetuses that will for sure die outside the womb. When the Senate got ahold of it, they added a provision for "medically futile" pregnancies, those in which chromosomal or congenital abnormalities would basically kill the child outside the womb. The House was like, "No. Uh uh," but eventually decided to cut their losses and go along with the changes in order to get the bill passed. The AJC says, "Other small tweaks to the bill's language were made" as well. There's still no exception for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest. Carry that rapist's baby to term and shut up about already! Jeez. Women.

But, hey. Georgia Right to Life — despite disagreeing with the Senate's changes — is happy! After all, this means Georgia is one step closer to outlawing abortion all together. President Dan Becker was quoted as saying, "We commend the Legislature. This is one of the toughest pro life laws in the nation ... It will save roughly 1,500 lives a year."

Female democratic legislators wrapped themselves in caution tape and exited the chambers. In the hall they chanted, "Women will remember in November." (Video here.) We'll see if that's true.

You can read the bill in its entirety here.

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