National Debate on Pro-Life Movement Sparked by Georgia Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 27, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

National Debate on Pro-Life Movement Sparked by Georgia Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 27,

Atlanta, GA ( — When pro-life advocates in South Dakota proposed an abortion ban on their state ballot last year, it opened the door to the decades-long debate within the pro-life community about the best way to end abortion. A new effort in Georgia to ban abortions there is sparking a renewed debate.

In March, a bipartisan group of lawmakers put forward a "paramount human life amendment" bill that would establish the “personhood” of each of its citizens from fertilization until natural death.

The debate doesn’t concern principle, but involves the timing of bills like Georgia’s and South Dakota’s and whether or not it is wise to send a guaranteed legal challenge to a pro-abortion Supreme Court.

On one side is leading pro-life attorney James Bopp, who has served as the legal counsel for National Right to Life and dozens of other pro-life groups.

Bopp and other top pro-life attorneys say the problem with state abortion bans is that the Supreme Court will reject them under its current 5-4 pro-abortion makeup. That would further entrench the Roe v. Wade decision into case law.

“Eschewing incremental efforts to limit abortion where legally and politically possible makes the error of not saving some because not all can be saved," Bopp says.

But Richard Thompson, the lead counsel for the Thomas More Law Center, which wrote the language for the Georgia lawmakers, says “When is it wrong to do right?”

He says "that after 34 years of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, it is time to rethink pro-life strategy.”

Daniel Becker, the vice-president of Georgia Right to Life, which backs the bill, agrees, and told, “The timing argument presupposes the exact makeup of the Supreme Court, as much as, six years into the future."

Most pro-life groups continue to operate under the strategy that they should do all they can to reduce the number of abortions until the day comes when there is a pro-life majority on the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade can be overturned.

Their efforts have resulted in a reduction of abortions by 30-50 percent in states like South Carolina, Missouri, Michigan and others.

Other states such as Wisconsin have seen their abortion totals decrease to their lowest points since Roe v. Wade because of numerous pro-life bills their legislatures have approved.

The work of crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life media campaigns have helped to reduce those abortion rates as well.