ATLANTA - A bill that would let mothers drop off unwanted newborns at a safe location took another unexpected turn Monday.
The effort, scheduled to be voted on in the Senate, was postponed a second time Monday because of plans by Sen. Mike Beatty, R-Jefferson, to add an abortion-related amendment.
The bill, passed last year by the House, would allow a mother to leave an unwanted newborn at a hospital or other designated place - no questions asked. It was prompted by several widely publicized cases of babies being found abandoned, both alive and dead, in trashcans, bathrooms and other remote locations.
The Senate was prepared to vote on the measure earlier in the session when Mr. Beatty, who is running for lieutenant governor, added his Women's Right to Know amendment. The measure would require women seeking abortions to be given detailed medical information about the procedure 24 hours in advance.
Majority Democrats, some of whom feared casting an election-year vote against the amendment would draw the wrath of conservative groups, canceled the vote on the bill.
It was rescheduled for Monday. But sensing that Mr. Beatty again planned to amend it, the committee that sets the Senate's calendar once again postponed a child abandonment vote.
"It was unfair for this baby-abandonment bill to be used as a political football," said Sen. David Scott, D-Atlanta, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.
Mr. Beatty denied using the abortion issue to further his political goals.
"I (introduced) this bill in 1991," he said. "It's been introduced every year since then, and it's never been heard on the floor of either the House or Senate."
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