Georgia Abortion Advocates Sue for Tax-Funded Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Georgia Abortion Advocates Sue for Tax-Funded Abortions

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
December 6, 2003

Atlanta, GA ( — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit in Georgia, attempting to win taxpayer funding for abortions allegedly performed for medical reasons.

The ACLU claims that denial of Medicaid coverage for what it terms "medically necessary" abortions threatens women’s health and violates their rights. Medicaid is the government-funded health insurance program for the poor.

"Georgia Medicaid endangers poor women’s health by denying coverage for abortions that a doctor determines are medically necessary," said Nancy Boothe, executive director of Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta. 

But pro-life leaders say that the term "medically necessary abortions" is just another way of saying "abortion on demand." 

They note that an abortion can threaten not only a woman’s health but also a woman’s life. A woman who undergoes an abortion runs the risk of experiencing a perforated uterus, sterility, and depression.

Medical studies have also established a connection between abortion and breast cancer.

"We know of many healthy babies born in Georgia to mothers who were treated for serious medical problems during their pregnancy," said Caryl Swift, president of Georgia Right to Life. "Any woman with a health concern needs a compassionate doctor to provide appropriate care for her.

"She deserves medical care. Killing her baby only makes her the mother of a dead baby," said Swift.

In attempting to shore up its case, the ACLU cites a poll which it claims shows that Georgians support government-funded abortions.

The Georgia Legislative Poll showed that 70 percent of the registered voters surveyed said Medicaid "should cover abortions that a doctor determines are necessary to protect a woman’s health."

But pro-lifers note that the wording of the poll was seriously flawed. Respondents might have assumed that the woman would die without an abortion, when, in fact, the baby posed no risk to her life. 

In addition, backers of the suit are also suggesting that abortions are "medically necessary" when the unborn child has some kind of health problem which might prevent him or her from surviving outside the womb.

In a news release issued by the ACLU, Kay Scott, the executive director of Planned Parenthood of Georgia, said, "Where is the compassion in forcing a woman to give birth to a stillborn?"

The trouble is, say pro-lifers, there’s no way to accurately predict whether, and for how long, a baby will live once he or she is born. There’s a difference, they say, between a baby dying from natural causes and having his or her life taken by an abortionist.

According to the ACLU, Medicaid in Georgia does not currently cover abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The ACLU says that 16 states cover what it describes as "medically necessary" abortions.

But taxpayers are generally leery of having government funds pay for abortions.

"Just because a woman has the right to have … an abortion does not mean that the government has to pay for it," Georgia Right to Life’s Swift said. "The Hyde Amendment made that clear on the federal level."

"The people of Georgia do not want to pay for abortions."

Related web sites:
Georgia Right to Life –