Senate Republicans balk, complicate passage for anti-abortion bill

Posted on March 26, 2012, March 26, 2012 by Jim Galloway

A bill to shorten the period during which women may seek abortions passed the state Senate this evening, but not before 13 Republican state senators joined Democrats to substantially change it – raising the possibility that it might not pass before the Legislature adjourns on Thursday.

The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, who switched parties 18 months ago. If he recommends it, the House would likely accept the changes, sending the bill quickly to the governor.

But Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life, said he will encourage McKillip not to do so, increasing the chances that the bill could get bogged down in the last-minute dickering between the two chambers.

Despite warnings from Senate sponsor Renee Unterman, R-Buford, that amendments were intended to kill the bill, Senate Republicans joined Democrats to make two substantial changes. One was an effort to protect physicians hit with civil suits as a result of the legislation.

But Becker said he was particularly upset by the exemption granted to “medically futile” pregnancies.

Opponents argued that the bill would force women to carry fetuses that stood no chance of survival to full term. Becker countered that tests indicating non-viability often produce false positives – that is, they indicate problems where none exist. “This is the first step toward a eugenics policy,” Becker said.

Earlier in the day, the Peach Tea Party – a conservative coalition that includes GRTL – served notice on 17 House Republicans, many of whom had voted against HB 954 – that they would face opposition in the July primaries. Those 13 GOP senators who voted to amend HB 954 now may be placed on the same list. They are: John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee; Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone; Bill Cowsert, R-Athens; John Crosby, R-Tifton; Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville; Greg Goggans, R-Douglas; Tim Golden, R-Valdosta; Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville; Bill Jackson, R-Appling; Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody; Jack Murphy, R-Cumming; Cecil Staton, R-Macon; and Ross Tolleson, R-Perry.

Posted in: Georgia