by Steven Ertelt
April 24, 2007
Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) — The Georgia state legislature has sent two pro-life bills to Gov. Sonny Perdue for his consideration. They include one measure that would have to show a woman considering an abortion an ultrasound of her unborn baby if she wants to see one beforehand and another on stem cell research.
Last Friday, the state Senate approved the conference report on the ultrasound bill on a 26-18 vote, but the bill was lost because that was short of the majority that is needed to approve the bill.
In an email sent to LifeNews.com, Georgia Right to Life said that bill sponsors Rep. James Mills and Sen. Nancy Schaefer quickly went to work
"A new conference committee report was drafted and sent back to conference committee," the group explained. "Conference committee members quickly acted on the proposed changes and ensured that the bill was returned to the House and Senate chambers."
"Under the direction of Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Senate leadership again allowed the bill to be presented to the entire Senate floor. This time, the Senate approved the new conference committee report 31-17," the group said.
Speaker Glenn Richardson helped guide the bill in the House where the committee report received a 110-46 vote.
Supporters of the bill say it would help women make a better decision than an abortion and critics said it was just another attempt to limit abortion access and Perdue plans to sign it into law.
Rep. James Mills, a Republican who is the main sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues during an earlier debate, "If all of us — no matter where we’re at — if we hate to see an abortion take place no matter what, why not support a bill that gives a woman all the facts before she makes such a critical decision?"
The bill is an extension of the Woman’s Right to Know Act and will add an ultrasound component to the existing informed consent requirements.
Under the measure, abortion facilities must offer the mother the opportunity to view the fetal image and the fetal heartbeat at the conclusion of an ultrasound. The ultrasound itself isn’t mandated unless the woman says she wants to see one.
The bill would also require that the abortion facility give a list of health care providers, facilities and clinics that offer to perform ultrasounds free of charge.
The measure makes sure women can sign a form saying, in writing, that they were offered the opportunity to view the ultrasound.
Meanwhile, the House Science and Technology Committee unanimously approved a substitute stem cell bill last week. The House passed the new version of the bill by a vote of 148-0.
Then, the Senate approved the House version of SB 148 in a vote of 48-0, sending the bill to the governor.
The measure, which Georgia Right to Life supports, will establish a 15 member state commission that will oversee a system of umbilical cord blood banks — seen as more ethical and effective alternatives to embryonic stem cell research.
In addition, the bill will require all state hospitals to inform pregnant mothers that they can donate placenta, umbilical cords, and amniotic fluid for medical research.
"While the original language of the bill was modified, the intent of the legislation still promotes nondestructive stem cell research in Georgia," the group told LifeNews.com.
"The language of the bill prevents using taxpayer funds from being used to promote research that destroys human embryos," it added.