Thursday, March 10, 2011

Abortion May Be Legal, But You Can't Get One Here

SB 209, a bill that would ban abortion in Georgia after 20 weeks, was a cause for significant concern as introduced.  Now, with less than 24 hours notice, it has been replaced by a likely unconstitutional bill that would prohibit all abortions in any facility other than a hospital.  No other state has this law.
Nationally, 95% of all abortions are performed in private doctor’s offices, licensed surgical centers and clinics.  Most hospitals only provide abortions under emergency circumstances.  If the Senate has their way, abortion will be legal in Georgia, but good luck finding a facility that can perform one under this new law.
Procedurally this is what happened - In a highly unusual maneuver, SB 209 was assigned to the Senate Rules committee as a substantive bill to discuss and pass, much like bills are assigned to the Judiciary Committee.  It will then have to pass out of the Rules Committee again to make it to the Senate Floor.  After some testimony, the Chairman decided to continue the meeting the following day.

Upon convening today, Majority Leader Chip Rogers invited Senator Charlie Bethel to participate on the committee in the same manner of the ‘Hawk System’ that was used in the House years ago.   Both the substitue to SB 209 and SB 210 passed committee.

We urge you to attend the Senate Rules committee tomorrow morning, at 10:00 am in Room 450 where they will be voting on this sweeping legislation.  This unprecedented maneuver was achieved with the first appearance of Senate “Hawks,” or Senators appointed by leadership to appear in committees to which they are not current members in order to  change the outcome of a vote.  We thought the "hawks" of the Georgia General Assembly had flown away with former House Speaker, Glenn Richardson.  Apparently not.

* The substitute to 209 did not pass. It will be heard tomorrow.

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