Pro-life Legislative Update
HB 1155 Moves through Sub-committee
The Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (HB 1155) passed through the Ramsey sub-committee of the Non-Civil Judiciary on Wednesday (Feb. 17) afternoon. After 2 hours of testimony from both sides of the issue, a vote of 5-2 was taken in favor of the passage of the legislation on to the full committee. The only 2 committee members to vote against the measure were (D)Rep. Kevin Levitas 82nd and (R)Rep. Bobby Franklin 43rd .
The bill then moved to the full committee Thursday morning (Feb.18) for consideration. However, after an hour and a half of testimony and questioning by committee members the Chairman, Rep. Rich Golich 34th, decided that there was not enough time to hear the views of those opposing the legislation. He, therefore, made the decision to reschedule another hearing at a later date to finish discussion on the bill.
Because the Legislature is now on a 2 week recess to work on the budget, the actual scheduling of the bill’s hearing will not be until sometime following March 8th. Between now and then, we are calling upon all of those in our pro-life community to call your representative and encourage them to support HB 1155. We are especially asking you to call the members of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and let them know you support this legislation. The names and contact information of the committee members are provided on the following link https://georgialife.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/contact-georgia-house-members-to-vote-yes-on-hb-1155/ .
Fasting and Prayer for the Passage of HB 1155
We are calling upon all of our pro-life community and churches to fast and pray for the passage of HB 1155. Rep. Barry Loudermilk 14th has requested that we set aside Wednesday, February 24th as a day of prayer and fasting. We believe that in times like these God would have us consider Him and His will for divine guidance. Our country’s founding was based upon men and women who looked to the Lord’s intervention. It will take this same kind of praying to save our country from destruction! (see proclamation from last week Click Here.)
HB 1178 is Placed in the Health and Human Services Committee
This past week H.B. 1178 “The Patient’s Right to Nutrition and Hydration Act” was introduced in the Georgia House by Rep. Martin Scott 2nd and co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Bearden 68th and Rep. Mark Butler 18th to help provide more protections for Georgian citizens in end of life care.
This legislation seeks to insure that no patient shall be denied food and hydration. It has been brought to the attention of Georgia Right to Life and our legislature that there have been cases where patients have been denied basic food and hydration in order to speed up the dying process.
Attorney David Gibbs, counsel for the Schindler family in the Terri Schiavo case, has provided legal counsel on this bill. Mr. Gibbs noted, “Food and water should not be considered ‘life support,’ in my opinion. If this bill is passed into law, Georgia would recognize that important distinction to protect its citizens.”
The bill was read in the House last Tuesday and assigned to The Health and Human Services Committee. This committee is chaired by(R) Rep. Sharon Cooper 41st . In past Rep. Cooper has not proven to be a strong supporter of pro-life legislation. Upon the request of the author, the bill will be put on the docket for a hearing. There has been no indication if the bill will or will not get a hearing this year.
Opposing HB 999 for not being Pro-life
H.B. 999, authored by (R) Rep. Edward Lindsey 54th provides laws for administering portable medical orders. Portable orders are medical orders specifically intended for use in various locations, including, but not limited to, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes.
As reported by my good friend Sue Ella Deadwyler, “However, there’s more to this bill than “portable medical orders.” The major thrust of H.B. 999 is to legally define life-sustaining procedures and provide immunity to those that withhold such procedures. If this passes, Georgia’s life-and-death laws would drastically change as follows:
Candidates for withholding life-sustaining procedures include any individual whose medical condition can reasonably be expected to result in immediate death; for whom life-sustaining procedures would be medically futile and likely unsuccessful in changing the patient’s terminal condition; or who is in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
Life-sustaining procedures means medications, machines, or other medical procedures or interventions that could keep a terminally ill or permanently unconscious patient alive, but could not cure him. Life-sustaining procedures that could be withdrawn include water, nourishment, pain-killing medication or procedures necessary to alleviate pain.”
We have attempted to amend this piece of legislation with wording in HB 1178, but have not been able to get language that we feel comfortable with at this point. GRTL, along with other pro-life organizations, are continuing to seek expert opinions on the legislation. It appears that much of the language in the bill is beyond repair and will not pass out of committee this year.
Other Pro-life Bills We are Following…
We are currently following two (2) other pieces of legislation from last year’s session. The first is SB 169 “The Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act.” This bill is being held up in the Science and Technologies Committee, Chaired by (R) Rep. Amos Amerson 9th.
After a compromise agreement was sought with the Senate, the bill, for all practical purposes, was gutted. However, what was left in the bill would effectively ban: (1) destructive embryonic stem cell research, (2) therapeutic and reproductive cloning and (3) the creation of human/animal hybrids. We are working with leadership and we think there is a possibility of a hearing on this bill.
The second piece of legislation is SB 223 “The Woman’s Reproductive Health Oversight Committee.” This bill is sponsored by (R) Sen. Renee Unterman 45th. This oversight committee would help monitor the reporting and exploitation of the Woman’s Right to Know regulations. A number of hearings were held last year and it was revealed that there is reason to question whether the laws regarding informed consent and the ultrasound options are being carried out effectively. There have also been discrepancies in the reporting on abortions and the access women are being given to have ultrasounds.
The bill passed the Senate and was assigned to the House Judiciary committee and is presently in (R) Chairman Mike Jacobs’s 80th sub-committee. Because of timing issues, the bill was unable to get a hearing last year. Sen. Unterman 45th has requested a hearing this year.
This bill highlights the importance of not only passing legislation that is pro-life, but of monitoring the effects of the legislation to make sure that it is doing what it was intended to do!
Citizen Lobby Training Day at the Capitol
I am planning a day at the Capitol when you and your friends can come and learn how to lobby at the State Capitol. On March the 4th in room 450 in the Capitol, we will hold a lobby training seminar. We will begin at 10AM with a time of classroom teaching. At 11:00 we will go on a tour of the Capitol and the legislative office building. The class will be basic training for those who have never been to the Capitol or know very little about the legislative process. We will have a Dutch treat lunch in the legislative office building cafeteria on the 6th floor at 12 noon. Everything should be over by 1PM.
Please call if I may ever be of service to you.
Pressing on for life,
Georgia Right to Life