Originally created 03/09/99

Pass Ga. H.B 854 030999 - The Augusta Chronicle



Georgia took a giant step backward in the defense of defenseless human life when Attorney General Thurbert Baker last year single-handedly overturned the state's ban on the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion.

The state was sued by radicals seeking to block enforcement. Baker, incredibly, just threw in the towel and reached a consent order with the plaintiffs that totally undercut the intent of the General Assembly. Among other things, Baker arbitrarily and improperly changed the definition of partial birth abortion found in the law in order to gut the law!

House Speaker Tom Murphy, D-Bremen, said just two months ago that the Legislature should "revisit" the issue because the definition was changed. House Majority Leader Larry Walker, D-Perry, claimed he was for keeping the ban. But both have now cut and run, with Murphy gratuitously labeling as "silly" the new bill reinstating the partial birth abortion ban.

What's "silly" about banning a barbaric procedure whereby a living baby is delivered except for the head, at which point the brain is destroyed with surgical devices?

This newspaper supports H.B. 854 by Reps. Mike Evans, R-Cumming, and James Mills, R-Gainesville, reinstating the ban first imposed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority -- and which polls show is still backed by a huge majority of Georgians.

The imperious Murphy and the craven Walker simply don't like the two Republicans introducing the bill, but their personal likes, dislikes or whims should be immaterial.

The Evans-Mills bill is almost identical to the bill passed by the U.S. Congress prohibiting the procedure. But there are these caveats:

It tightens the definition of partial-birth abortion to address the legitimate concerns raised in the consent order.

H.B. 854 changes the law back to its original form and deletes Baker's foolish consent order changes.

It requires the attorney general to defend the law in court rather than cutting an out-of-court settlement.

Georgians appalled by the obstructionism of Murphy and Walker on this life-or-death issue should demand to know why they are so selfish and craven by keeping H.B. 854 from coming to the House floor for a vote.

It is languishing in the Judiciary subcommittee, so telephone committee member Rep. Ben Allen, D-Augusta, at (404) 656-7859. Ask him why he isn't pushing for passage.