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Victory Against Georgia Anti-Choice Bill

A Georgia bill that sought to criminalize abortions on the basis of race died in the state House’s Rules Committee on the final day of the legislative session Friday. The bill had been approved by the state Senate in March on a 33 to 14 vote. The state House’s Judiciary Non-Civil Committee voted 7 to 6 in favor of the bill in March. The bill stated that “A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation of abortion when that person solicits or coerces another person with the intent that an abortion be performed based in any way on account of the race, color, or sex of the unborn child or the race or color of either parent of that child.” The bill does not hold pregnant women who are the “targets” of said criminal solicitation liable. According to SisterSong, the legislation failed because “after more than three days of attempting to negotiate with the ultra conservative right to life lobby, the Speaker of the House David Ralston, was unable to convince them to support a more reasonable bill. The hard-line Republicans and moderate Republicans could not unite on the bill. This allowed the Democrats to filibuster. Essentially, it was the splintering that caused the bill’s turnaround in lacking unity.” The bill was pushed by Georgia Right to Life, which has taken statistics on race and abortion rates and correlated them with the location of clinics in and near minority neighborhoods to accuse pro-choice advocates of “outright eugenics.” This group also sponsored hundreds of billboards in Atlanta and throughout Georgia that state “Black children are an endangered species” in an effort to push the now defeated legislation. Most of the billboards have been removed. According to Heidi Williamson of SisterSong, the bill suggested “that abortion providers solicit and coerce African-American women for the sole purpose of aborting black babies [and] both bills exploit African-American women and discriminate against them in hopes of confounding leaders in the African-American community, and splitting the black vote during mid-term elections.”

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 3/30/10; Georgia HB 1155; SisterSong 4/30/10