East Cobb Speaks: Abortion Bill
What do you think about the newly passed legislation banning most abortions after 20 weeks?
The Georgia General Assembly passed a "fetal pain" abortion bill in the final hour of the 2012 legislative session Thursday night.
If signed by Gov. Nathan Deal as expected, H.B. 954 would ban abortion after 20 weeks, the midpoint of pregnancy, except in "medically futile" cases or when the mother risks death or irreversible physical damage.
The bill defines "medically futile" as a birth defect "that is incompatible with life"—essentially, a woman won't be forced to carry to term a fetus doctors think can't survive.
There are no exceptions for rape or incest.
The measure moves the cutoff for abortions back from 26 weeks because, it says, a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.
The House voted 106-59 with about 40 minutes left in the 40-day legislative session to accept the revised, compromise version of the bill, which isn't as strict as the version the House passed Feb. 29. The Senate approved the compromise on a 36-19 vote.
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The bill looked doomed after the Senate inserted the "medically futile" exception this week, but the bill's author, Rep. Doug McKillip (R-Athens), accepted the change when he was able to insert the definition of "medically futile," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Still, some female senators wrapped themselves in yellow caution tape and walked out in protest, and Democratic representatives turned their backs on McKillip, the AJC said.
The Cobb legislative delegation broke along party lines on the final version of the bill with one exception: Republican Don Parsons of Northeast Cobb voted no, according to the roll call.
Also voting no were Democratic Sens. Doug Stoner and Steve Thompson and Reps. Sheila Jones, David Wilkerson, Alisha Thomas Morgan and Stacey Evans.
The measure had the support of Republican Sens. Chip Rogers, Judson Hill and Lindsey Tippens and Reps. John Carson, Sharon Cooper, Judy Manning, Matt Dollar, Ed Setzler, Rich Golick, Earl Ehrhart and Sam Teasley. Cooper had been vocal in her displeasure with the original bill.