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Feminist News


November-16-11

Personhood Amendment Issue in Georgia General Assembly

Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk (R) and State Representative Rick Crawford (D) announced plans yesterday to introduce so-called "personhood" amendments to the Georgia State Constitution that would grant full individual rights to fertilized eggs in next year's General Assembly session. The Georgia State House of Representatives has one so-called "personhood" amendment that was introduced in the current session, H.R. 212. This bill is sponsored by State Representative Paul Braun (R) and has 63 Republican co-sponsors.

Crawford told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, "I'm from rural Georgia...I have to be well in step, and people have to trust me to represent their interests. It's not a surprise to anyone that I'm pro-life."

The present language of H.R. 212 is close to that of Initiative 26, the so-called Personhood Amendment that was defeated by Mississippi voters last week 58% to 42% percent. Initiative 26, a state constitutional amendment, would have given full rights to fertilized eggs. Personhood amendments threaten emergency contraception, birth control pills, IUDs, and abortions - even in cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the woman or girl. Initiative 26 in Mississippi would have even gone so far as to eliminate medical choices for women, including some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could have allowed the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.

The group that sponsored Initiative 26 in Mississippi, Personhood USA, has announced that they will attempt to place similar initiatives on the ballot in at least five states in 2012. Targeted states for 2012 include Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, and California. In 2014, the group plans to target Florida. Prior to Mississippi, voters have defeated anti-choice state ballot measures in South Dakota, Colorado, and California in 2006 and 2008; and Colorado in 2010.

Media Resources: Georgia H.R. 212; Atlanta Journal Constitution 11/15/2011; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/15/2011