New Georgia laws ban late-term abortions, assisted suicide

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Gov. Deal signing the pro-life bill alongside a representative from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and State Legislators. Courtesy: Office of the Governor.

Pro-life advocates claimed victories in Georgia where Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law one bill that outlaws most abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and another bill that bans assisted suicide.

“Today, we are reaffirming Georgia’s commitment to preserving the sanctity of all human life,” Gov. Deal said May 1. “This legislation provides humane protection to innocents capable of feeling pain, while making an important exception for in the case of medically futile pregnancies.”

The law bars abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except to save the life of the mother or in cases of extreme defects in the unborn baby. It is the eighth such law to be passed in the U.S. based on concern that unborn children are capable of feeling pain.

Mary Boyert, director of the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Respect Life Ministry, spoke in favor of the bill in February.

Georgia Right to Life President Dan Becker thanked the governor and commended the law’s supporters in the legislature who “honored the sanctity of life and did not abandon their principles.”

“I am deeply grateful that Governor Deal has demonstrated his commitment to protecting the preborn,” he said May 1, noting that the bill will ensure that at least 1,500 babies will no longer be killed.

Becker cautioned, however, against the exemption allowing abortion for “medically futile” pregnancies. He declared that the exemption is a step towards establishing a “eugenic policy” and “opens the door to destroying babies doctors think may be less than perfect.”

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, said the bill limits women’s access to health care and “calls into question every woman who makes a deeply personal, private, medical decision.”

Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Arizona, Indiana and North Carolina also bar most or all abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy, Reuters reported.

The Georgia legislature passed an assisted suicide law in response to a February Georgia Supreme Court decision which struck down a law that banned the advertising of assisted suicide services.

Georgia Catholic Conference executive director Frank Mulcahy testified in favor of the bill.

Georgia Right to Life’s president praised the governor for signing the bill into law.

“Stopping the immoral and barbaric practice of killing in the name of compassion is the right thing to do,” Becker said.

“Any society that claims to value life cannot justify taking a life lest we risk establishing a public policy with its attendant expectation of a ‘duty to die’.”

He advised devoting resources to “helping people in desperate situations.”

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