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New organization picked for Georgia pro-life affiliate

The state has a new leader in pro-life issues, with the decision this weekend to name the Georgia Life Alliance as the state’s new National Right to Life Committee affiliate.

The organization replaces Georgia Right to Life, based in Norcross, which has sent a director to the national board since 1971.

The split stems from a push last year from Georgia Right to Life, demanding that members of Congress vote against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a top priority of National Right to Life’s legislative agenda.

“It is rare for a longstanding state affiliate to be replaced on the (NRLC) board, and it is action never undertaken lightly,” NRLC board President Carol Tobias said in a statement, referring to the local organization’s stand on the bill. “The episode demonstrated that Georgia Right to Life was willing to seek defeat of National Right to Life priority federal legislation. … In short, by its own actions, Georgia Right to Life ruptured its relationship with Naitonal Right to Life.”

Tobias also admonished the group for praising a congressman for not voting in favor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, another top priority that would have expanded prohibitions on federal funding of abortion.

“National Right to Life and its affiliates seek to restore legal protection for all unborn children from the moment of their conception,” Tobias added. “Until the Supreme Court allows broad protections for unborn children, we work to protect as many children as possible by passing the strongest possible laws at the state and federal level. That legislative strategy has helped save millions of lives — and continues to save lives today.”

Georgia Right to Life’s President Dan Becker said his group has the same goal as the national group.

“It’s a tragedy that a pioneering, highly successful pro-life organization is considered unworthy to remain affiliated with National Right to Life,” Becker said. “It’s especially hard to understand, since GRTL has accomplished so much.”

Emily Matson, a spokeswoman for Rome-based Georgia Life Alliance, said the organization is proud to accept the mantle, adding that leaders hope to make a smooth transition during the next 30 days.

“The purpose of the new GLA affiliation with the NRLC is based solely on the desire to more effectively carry out the mission of the NRLC on the state level,” Matson said, discarding “misinformation” that the split is due to the state’s U.S. Senate race.

She said leaders intend to build an organization set for long-term success by allowing participation in an “authentic, transparent and actionable manner.”

“While GLA is excited about this new affiliation, we have no desire to use this organization to cause enmity or division with GRTL or its supporters,” Matson added. “GRTL, while embracing different strategies, is still a friend in the fight to protect the innocent unborn, the elderly infirmed and life at all stages. We welcome them to join us in this sobering and long-standing battle for the hearts and minds of Americans and Georgians. There is always a place at the table for those working to end the tragedy of abortion and advance a culture of life, and that includes GRTL.”

Becker said Georgia Right to Life plans to continue its efforts.

“GRTL will not abandon its position that all human life is created in the image of God and therefore sacred,” he said. “GRTL will stand true to its mission and not be swayed by the prevailing political winds.”