When does a woman (you, your sister, your daughter, your lover, your friend) become nothing but an incubator? If passed, Georgia HB954 would mandate that, if a woman discovers in the 20th week of her pregnancy the fetus she is carrying will probably not live to full term or will die shortly after delivery, she MUST continue that pregnancy whether she wants or not, or become a criminal.
She will NOT have the personal right or freedom to end an unwanted pregnancy and will become a living and unwilling incubator, relegated to nothing more than a slave to the will of State of Georgia. Her doctor would be a criminal to even suggest she has the option to end the pregnancy and could go to prison for up to 10 years for actually performing a merciful end to a tragic situation. The author of this draconian legislation does not deny the reality this situation and in fact he is quite pleased at the prospect. I heard it with my own ears, between the gasps of women in the room around me and the sound of the blood pounding in my head.
On Monday, March 19, 2012, I sat in meeting room 450 at the State Capitol of Georgia in utter disbelief as the Senate Health Committee took a voice vote (so the record would not reflect who voted how) to send the most horrific legislation that I have ever witnessed to the floor for a vote. And if it passes, women will lose the right to make their own health decisions and will have no one to blame but themselves.
The author of this war on women and families, would have you believe that his legislation is an effort to avoid ‘fetal pain’ but don’t believe his lies. It is red herring argument with no scientific evidence behind it. This legislation is intended to enslave a woman and MAKE her carry an unwanted baby or suffer the consequence. It is government control over her body. It is an attack on her right to privacy and to make her own decision about her health care. It is medieval and barbaric.
But there is more. This legislation is also intended to torture and cause extreme bodily damage to a woman who, to save her own life, must have an abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. Should the mother’s life be in danger this ‘merciful’ legislation would permit an emergency abortion, but MADATES the exact cesarean procedure a doctor must perform. A woman and her doctor would not even have the option to choose how to deliver the fetus. She will be cut from her navel to her pubic bone and flayed open in THE most dangerous manner. Her recovery will be longer and more painful. She runs the risk of never having more children. She will carry a visible scar (a scarlet letter) for the rest of her life.
Sadly there is even more. A woman’s mental health cannot be a determining factor after 20 weeks when a physician is helping a woman, and her family, determine if she should continue the pregnancy. A woman with severe depression or mental illness would be forced to do something she may not even be capable of totally comprehending and putting a burden on her family, or perhaps the State.
Also, there is NO provision for exception for a woman impregnated due to rape or incest. Seriously.
No, I am not exaggerating. This step backwards 50 years will likely happen. This attempt to enslave and torture women at the requirement of the State of Georgia is real and it could very well happen this session.
To be clear, this is not just a politically motivated anti-choice bill. You do not have to be pro-choice to know this is all out war against a woman’s right to manage her own health care. There is no compelling medical reasoning or scientific evidence to support the need for this legislation. In that meeting room we heard testimony after testimony from Physicians, ObGyns, nurses, constitutional law professors, all attesting to the fact that it is bad public policy to criminalize doctors for helping a woman make her own health decision, the premise of ‘fetal pain’ at 20 weeks is a fallacy, selecting a timeline to deny an abortion is arbitrary and the defense of this legislation will cost Georgia taxpayers millions to defend in court.
But be VERY clear, if HB 954 passes the shame is ours, women. We brought this disasterous situation and have no one to blame but ourselves.
Joan Kirner at Women Into Power Conference, Adelaide, October 1994 said, "There is no such thing as being non-political. Just by making a decision to stay out of politics you are making the decision to allow others to shape politics and exert power over you. And if you are alienated from the current political system, then just by staying out of it you do nothing to change it, you simply entrench it."
Women make up fully half the population but less than 17% of the elected policy makers in the country. By not being present in the room to have our voices heard we give up and give over vital personal and family rights to those who will control our decisions about our personal health care. We are responsible if we and our families do not have the right to decide our own fate.
To disengage out of disgust with ‘the corrupt system’ or to beg ignorance of the process, or to act with elitist distain for politics, is to have your rights taken away from you and to find yourself, or a woman you love, relegated to nothing more than an incubator.
If you can pick ONE moment to step out and rise up, then THIS must be your moment. What other moment could be more important? If not now, then when? We CAN stop this. We MUST stop this.
Call your own Senator and call the Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle. 404.656.5030 Here is the link to find your Senator. After you fill out the name, county and DOB, click to next page. Near the bottom of that page is the link to your Senator.
Call him or her and demand they oppose HB954. Be sure to let them know you are in their district.
Here is the link if you want to read HB954 for yourself.
It will take MASSIVE numbers of voices to stop this legislation and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. Please pass this along to your friends and family within Georgia. Send this quickly to people who love women and support a woman’s right to make these incredibly difficult and heartbreaking decisions in the privacy of her home with their family and physician. Please do it now.
UPDATE AS OF MARCH 26, 2012. HB 954 passed in the Senate but because 2 amendments were attached it has been sent back to the House. Call your Representative and her/him them to FIGHT FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS!!!!
UPDATE AS OF APRIL 2: HB 954 passed out of the Senate and is now headed to Gov for signature. Call 404-656-1776 and tell Deal you want him to VETO the legislation.