A Georgia bill that seeks to criminalize abortions on the basis of race was voted out of the state House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee yesterday on a 7 to 6 vote. According to the Macon.com, the bill now moves to the House Rules Committee, which will determine whether or not the bill will be sent to the House floor for debate.
The bill states 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 a SisterSong press release (see PDF), "If implemented, this bill will adversely impact abortion providers by requiring them to prove that they are not targeting women of a certain race or ethnicity. This burden could result in delayed medical services, particularly for women of color. Additionally, this legislation would alter the racketeering laws of the Georgia Code to include abortion providers. This is unacceptable as abortion is legal in the State of Georgia, and the alleged abuses of this medical procedure are unfounded."
According to Macon.com, the bill is being 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 has also sponsored hundreds of billboards in Atlanta and throughout Georgia that state "Black children are an endangered species" in an effort to push the current legislation. After the billboards appeared in February, Professor Beverly Guy-Sheftall of Spelman College told the New York Daily News that "To use racist arguments to try to bait black people to get them to be anti-abortion is just disgusting...These one-issue approaches that are not about saving the black family or black children, it's just a big distraction."
Media Resources: Macon.com 3/10/10; SisterSong Press Release 2/12/10; Georgia HB 1155; New York Daily News 2/15/10
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