by Steven Ertelt
February 3, 2005
Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) — A bill that would require abortion facilities to provide women with medically accurate information about abortion’s risks and alternatives cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday. The full Senate could debate and vote on the bill as early as next week.
Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee backed Senate Bill 77, sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman, a Republican, by a 5-1 vote. The only dissenting vote came from Democrat Steve Henson.
It mandates that abortion practitioners provide women with the information 24 hours prior to performing the abortion. The information also includes the probable gestational age and development of the mother’s unborn child and information on the pain an unborn child feels during an abortion.
The bill would also require that a parent or legal guardian be notified when a teenager seeks an abortion.
The bill is patterned after legislation that, in other states, has reduced the number of abortions by one-third. Parental notification measures have reduced teen abortions by 30 percent or more.
In addition to representatives of Georgia Right to Life, Dr. Kathleen Raviele, a gynecologist testified in favor of the bill.
Women who have had abortions also spoke for the legislation.
Casey Grist of Suwanee, who had an abortion when she was 19, said she has had two miscarriages and two premature births since then. She indicated that the abortion business never told her of the possible medical risks associated with abortion.
"I’ve learned since that some of these complications could’ve been a result of abortion," Grist said, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.
Abortion advocates opposed the legislation and Planned Parenthood of Georgia board member Joel Engel called it inaccurate and "unnecessarily inflammatory" because one provision requires women to be told that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, something most studies confirm.
Rep. Sue Burmeister has introduced a similar bill in the state House.
A new poll shows that a strong majority of Georgia residents support the Woman’s Right to Know measure.
Conducted for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, about 60 percent of Georgia voters indicated they "strongly" or "somewhat" supported the legislation. Only 33 percent indicated they "strongly" or "somewhat" opposed the idea.
Pat Chivers, director of government relations for Georgia Right to Life, talked about the poll and why the law is necessary.
"I think it does show that the people of Georgia do want women to have the opportunity to be offered information about the development of the unborn child, alternatives to abortion and the significant medical risks of abortion before they undergo the procedure and have time to reflect on it," Chivers said.