Changes To Fetal Pain Bill Could Complicate Passage

This next story contains language that some may feel is graphic…

Some significant changes to a fetal pain bill already passed by the state house could impact the likelihood of it becoming law.

Monday night, the Georgia Senate passed the legislation but with several amendments.

The core component of the original legislation, HB 954, would ban abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But as WABE’s Rose Scott reports one of the new amendments could decide the fate of a bill.

Senators amended HB 954 to include a clause that exempts abortions performed when a pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile.

That means conditions where the unborn has a congenital or chromosomal abnormality which the bill defines as incompatible with life.

Janelle Yamarick is the community education and advocacy director for the Feminist Women’s Health Center.

She cites conditions Potter’s syndrome where the baby is born without kidneys.

According to Yamarick, these are medically futile cases where the “baby, upon birth or close to birth would either die soon after or be born soon dead.”

Yamarick, who is not a doctor, admits it’s not easy crafting legislation for such a complicated issue.

The bottom line according to Yamarick is that the bill would take away…from women…the right to make their own decisions, “that’s the thing we hear from whether somebody identifies as  prolife or prochoice, they want those decisions to remain in the family along with their medical doctor or there religious advisor.”

Some republican lawmakers joined democrats to amend the bill, which also protects doctors from civil lawsuits.

With only two legislative days left in the session, the amendments to the fetal pain bill could seemly force its sponsors to make one of two choices.

Either approve the senate’s version and send the bill to Governor Nathan Deal or once again abandon another attempt to toughen abortion legislation.