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Ga. Senate passes changed anti-abortion bill

ATLANTA (AP) -- Senate lawmakers eased a major restriction Monday on a bill that would ban women from getting abortions five months into a pregnancy, opening a rift with House lawmakers who backed a more stringent proposal.

The original legislation from Rep. Doug McKillip is part of a national campaign to ban abortions starting 20 weeks after conception when abortion opponents say a fetus can start feeling pain -- a point disputed by doctors. The Republican's bill made exceptions for pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the mother. It would not permit abortions after the deadline to protect a mother's mental health.

In a major shift, the Senate adopted a last-minute change that would allow women to get an abortion even after the five-month mark if a doctor determined a fetus has a fatal congenital or chromosomal defect. Critics of the bill have said that many abortions performed so late in a pregnancy are sought by parents who learn their unborn child will not survive outside the womb.

"I think we need to give doctors and their patients that opportunity," said Republican Sen. John Bulloch, who supported changing the bill and ultimately voted for its passage. He said lawmakers should "not punish a pregnant woman."

It was unclear whether House Republicans will accept the new changes. McKillip said he did not have an immediate opinion on the new version, though his Senate allies had urged lawmakers to vote down the changes. If McKillip does not strike an agreement by Thursday, when the General Assembly adjourns for the year, his proposal will fail.

Women can now get abortions in Georgia for any reason during the first six months of a pregnancy. They are legal during the last three months only to protect a woman's life or her physical or mental health. The proposal from McKillip would effectively narrow the time women can decide to legally get an abortion by about a month.

Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams, a Republican who supported the bill, compared modern abortion to the ritual sacrifice of children condemned in the Bible. He spoke before the legislation was altered.

"We sacrifice children not to propitiate the gods for a good crop but for convenience and other reasons," Williams said.

Doctors and geneticists have told state lawmakers that some tests and other information on fetal health may be unavailable before 20 weeks, forcing parents to make decisions based on incomplete information.

Sen. Valencia Seay, D-Riverdale, spoke about the experience of one couple who she said learned close to the proposed deadline that their unborn son was not surrounded by protective amniotic fluid in the womb. He lacked kidneys, functioning lungs and was so constricted that his limbs and features became deformed, Valencia said. The couple got an abortion.

"They didn't want their son's life being spent in an environment that was so cramped that his body grew deformed and he could not move around, only to suffocate upon birth," Seay said. "Their son was not going to live regardless of when he was born."

McKillip's bill first passed the House last month. Since then, he voluntarily changed it to make clear that the names of doctors who report performing abortions to the state must be held confidential. House lawmakers must vote to approve the changes before the bill could go to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

If enacted, Georgia would be the seventh state to pass a version of the so-called fetal pain act.

The legislation proposed in Georgia is modeled after a 2010 measure adopted by Nebraska that later inspired other bills in Kansas, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana and Oklahoma. The proposals depart from the standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court which allow states to limit abortions when there's a reasonable chance the fetus could survive outside of the womb, generally considered to be around 23 or 24 weeks.

Comments

RiggaTony 2 years ago

It doesn't really matter that the restrictions were eased, as the original bill didn't go far enough. Abortion needs to be outlawed completely at all stages for all reasons. People who even think about terminating a pregnancy need to be jailed.

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nicholson 2 years ago

Wow, just what we need the government putting people in jail for their own private thoughts about a LEGAL option. You are starting to sound like a member of the Taliban, Rigga Tony.

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kevin 2 years ago

once taxpayers get involved, it is our business to stop murder

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nicholson 2 years ago

The U.S. Congress has barred the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions, except when the woman's life would be endangered by a full-term pregnancy or in cases of rape or incest. Perhaps you should do some reading before posting.

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

But why should tax dollars be spent on abortions for any of those reasons? It's not the baby's fault those things happened, and it's still state funded murder.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

In the case of incest, it is well within the realm of possibility that a child born of incest will suffer defects. The genetics jsut don't work. I agree that tax dollars shouldn't go toward it, but that doesn't mean it should be criminalized and people should be jailed jsut for thinking it...

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

I don't know that I agree with that assertion, FordGalaxy. If you think about it, we're all the products to incest. We are all products of the union of Adam and Eve. Since there were no other people, it means their children must have interbred.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Then where did Cain's wife come from? The Bible only records four humans up to that point: Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel (obviously deceased). Cain left the group after murdering Abel and then married, but how could he marry if no one else was around. The obvious truth, and this is coming from a conservative Christian, is that the Bible doesn't tell us everything, but it tells us what we need to know. I'll grant you that God would've protected the first generations, just as he did after the Flood, but the scientific truth, unless you want to deny established science, is that incest can create genetic flaws.

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Braveshopr 2 years ago

"It doesn't really matter that the restrictions were eased, as the original bill didn't go far enough. Abortion needs to be outlawed completely at all stages for all reasons."

It's really much more complicated than wiping out the rights of an entire population of people, namely women. You should do a little reading on the matter. In your case, even a little reading might help.

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

What about the rights of the unborn? Does a woman's right to not be inconvenienced and live a promiscuous lifestyle without consequences trump a baby's right to exist?

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nicholson 2 years ago

You are making a huge assumption there - that abortions are the result of a "promiscuous" lifestyle. Yes, even Christian people have abortions - I know in your very self righteous, very judgemental world view that its incomprehensible but it does happen. What gives you the right to interfere with a woman's choice? You believe that you know better than a doctor, the woman's family, and the woman herself, in making such a personal decision? I find it ironic that you are always criticizing Obama in your posts (who I did not vote for or support),complaining about the government intruding in our lives constantly, and yet you have no problem with the government regulating our personal lives and in fact, you call for it constantly, in your effort for moral purity. HYPOCRITE!

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CarolRS1 2 years ago

Rigga Tony, so you think every woman who has an unwanted pregnancy is leading a promiscuous lifestyle? What about the promiscuity of the men involved? I am sick and tired of people like you who think only your opinions about abortion are correct. I guess you and all the other anti-abortion people will be willing to adopt all these children, who are beaten, neglected and starved to death by mothers who don't want them. Or maybe you can justify murdering abortion doctors, because you don't agree with them.

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

I think the men involved in these pregnancies need to stop being promiscuous and assume their share of parental responsibility.

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CarolRS1 2 years ago

Who are you, Rigga Tony, to decide when a woman can and cannot have an abortion? Your statement that "people who even think about terminating a pregnancy should be jailed", is judgemental and just plain foolish, very cro magnon.. Do you volunteer to adopt any unwanted children, who are beaten, starved, and murdered every week? If you had a thirteen year old daughter that became pregnant after being raped, are you telling me that you would automatically force her to give up her future to raise the child? I doubt it, people like you enjoy telling others what they SHOULD do. It is simply NOT your place to judge women, no matter what you think. Abortion is here to stay, maybe you should worry more about irresponsible and promiscuous men, which you don't seem to be concerned about. You cannot legislate morality, no matter what, women will get abortions. Are you as concerned about the anti-abortion whackos who murder doctors that are performing a legal service? I didn't think so. Worry about yourself and your family, that is the only thing you have control over.

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

I respectfully disagree, nicholson. The Taliban are an evil regime based on a false religion. All I want is to see this nation restored to the Christian society our founding fathers intended it to be.

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nicholson 2 years ago

The Taliban believes that it is restoring their nation to the religious principles that they believe in too, no matter what brutal, inhumane treatment of people that entails. So do you agree with the people that bombed abortion clinics here (like Eric Rudolph) and killed abortion providing doctors in cold blood? Also, I would like to know just how you are going to enforce a law based purely on what you think people should be thinking?

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

But my point is the Taliban supports a brutal, false religion. This country was founded on the one true religion, which is benevolent. I don't condone violence against anyone. Those who look to violent means to end abortion are no better than the doctors who perform these procedures.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

This country wasn't founded on one religion above another. Many of the founders happened to be Christian. Several were Deist. Jefferson took a Bible and cut out large swaths of it, leaving mainly the words of Christ, as he felt those most important to the scripture. As I stated earlier, many of the founders went out of their way to emphasize that, while they might be Christian, the United States is in no way a solely Christian nation. The pilgrim who first came to this country sought the freedom to practice their religion, not to enforce their religious beliefs on others through the rule of law.

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Braveshopr 2 years ago

"All I want is to see this nation restored to the Christian society our founding fathers intended it to be."

With the exception of women.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

RiggaTony, there is a problem with your logic on this one. Please understand that I agree that abortion is bad. I don't morally agree with it. But if you make it illegal it isn't going to stop. What will happen instead is that it will go underground into unsafe, unregulated back alleys with no supervision at all. From previous discussions with you on these blogs, you seem to have this idea that it is within the purview of government to legislate morality. You cannot use the rule of law to enforce one religion above another. That's what the founders stood for. John Adams, in his writings on the dealsing with the Barbary Pirates, made explicit note that we are not a Christian nation, just as we are not a Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu nation. Jefferson's letter wrote of a wall of separation between church and state, to keep the church out of the state, but to also keep the state out of the church. To Jefferson, it was a two-way street. And your idea about jailing people for their thoughts...I'm a conservative Christian, more of a Libertarian, really...and that scares me.

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kevin 2 years ago

abortion should be left to the person and no government should be involved in it. Once the taxpayer is called upon to pay fo it as a "medical" expense, the government has gone way to far. Besides, this is pure murder and should be dealt with accordingly: jail or death.

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nicholson 2 years ago

The government does not pay for all abortions, so your argument doesnt hold water. Secondly, if its pure murder in your view, who should be punished with jail or death: the doctor or the woman? What about the man who got her pregnant to begin with? Perhaps he should be castrated. You and Rigga Tony with your misogynstic views, would have women stoned to death who don't fit into your insane moral code.

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CarolRS1 2 years ago

So, with the economy collapsing, housing under water, unemployment at record levels, these so-called "conservatives" in the Ga legislature, can't find anything more important to do than trying to take away women's rights? This is such a pathetic attempt that shows just how morally & intellectually superior these old goats feel toward women. This is government at it's worst, combining church and state. Get back to the people's business, and do the job that you were hired to do.

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RiggaTony 2 years ago

If we, as a country, can regain our morality and enact laws that put us in line with the Biblical principles on which this country was founded the rest of those issues will correct themselves. That's why issues like this need to remain a top priority.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

RiggaTony, you just really don't understand the principle that morality cannot be legislated. People either are moral or they aren't. You can't force someone to be moral through the legal code. And beyond that, if you somehow succeed in forming a Christian theocracy (I'm guessing you like Santorum, right? He's for a theocracy) what's to stop a Muslim theocracy, or a Hindu theocracy? Government should not advocate a religion, and religion should not be used to form a government. It's not that hard to understand.

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kevin 2 years ago

why can't we all use the correct word for abortion: MURDER. and apply the appropriate laws for it. It is nothing more than one person killing another, even if sight unseen. It happens every day in Georgia.

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CarolRS1 2 years ago

Kevin: You can use whatever word you decide on, but, most people don't agree with you. I would suggest that you move to Iran, where you will be very happy seeing women stoned to death for committing acts that males "don't consider acceptable". This is a decision between a woman, her family, and God, not YOU and the woman. Get over it, it is absolutely none of your business.

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NewsReader 2 years ago

This is a hot topic? "Who woulda thunk it?" LOL! RiggaTony is a self-righteous religious fanatic. RiggaTony is our resident morality police. RiggaTony is a white supremacist. RiggaTony suffers from Automatonophobia and Technophobia. RiggaTony is a hypocrite. RiggaTony is a birther. How big is that sand pile you have your head buried in? I have your stool ready if jjbod1 has your dunce cap! Don't take my word for it...go look at his historical posts, and it doesn't take long to see clear through his glass house from which he is casting stones.

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NewsReader 2 years ago

And it looks as though Kevin is quite the follower!

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CarolRS1 2 years ago

News Reader, you are so right. It is unbelievable that this subject (abortion) is even being discussed. It wouldn't have even come up, except that moralists like Rick Santorum have made it a number one issue of his campaign. He mentions the word "abortion" and all the right wing evangelicals start foaming at the mouth, looking like idiots in the process. Santorum, and the pathetic Ga. Rep. Doug McKillip, are both pandering to these fanatics, hoping to further their political careers. It is time to stop the madness, abortion has been around since the beginning of time. You guys are fighting a losing battle.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

CarolRS1 - As a right wing evangelical myself, please don't lump me in with ALL those who foam at the mouth whenever Rick Santorum speaks. Santorum scares the daylights out of me, because I'm pretty sure he would institute a theocracy in this country and claim that it is what the founders wanted, when we have a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Note that I'm not mad at you at all, I just don't want to be categorized because of the actions of a few...

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CarolRS1 2 years ago

You are so right, FordGalaxy, and I apologize for making my statement so inclusive. I know that there are some sane and honest people like you, who classify themselves as evangelicals, yet they understand what is happening right now in the abortion battle. I agree with you about Rick Santorum's desire to set up a theocracy, he is a very dishonest and hypocritical candidate. Again, I am sorry for including all evangelicals in my rant.

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A_Gwinnetian 2 years ago

Women do not give birth to puppies or rabbits or kittens. Women give birth to human beings. It is intrinsically wrong to murder another human being except in self-defense or defense of another. Unborn babies are not viruses, they are not tumors, they are not parasites, they are not internal organs. Unborn babies are children and children deserve protection from harm. If a woman threatens the welfare of her own child (location of said child matters not), then men have every right to step in an protect that child. I am a woman, I am a mother, and I believe that I have a right to control my body in a way that does not hurt anyone else. Killing an unborn child is indeed hurting someone else.

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