National Right to Life Committee/Tuesday, May 1, 2012 --
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal today signed into the law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, making Georgia the sixth state to enact this legislation, based on a model bill initiated by National Right to Life and first enacted in Nebraska in 2010.
Georgia's HB 954, sponsored by Rep. Doug McKillip, passed the legislature last month with strong support from Georgia Right to Life and the Georgia Catholic Conference.
The law protects unborn children from 20 weeks fetal age (about the start of the sixth month, in layperson's terminology), based on legislative findings that there is compelling evidence that an unborn child by that point (if not earlier) is capable of experiencing excruciating pain during the process of dismemberment or other abortion procedures.
"We commend Governor Deal and the Georgia legislature for taking the steps necessary to ensure the protection of unborn children who are capable of feeling pain during an abortion procedure," said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., Director of state legislation for National Right to Life. "As Georgia joins other states around the country in passing this life-saving legislation, we look ahead to a day when all children are protected from brutal death by abortion."
In enacting the law, Georgia joins Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Nebraska.
"In a world where most animals have more rights than unborn members of the human family, we are thankful Georgia has recognized their vested interest in protecting the lives of the most vulnerable," Balch said.
Earlier this year, the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act was also introduced in Congress, to apply to the District of Columbia, which the Constitution places under the sole authority of Congress and the president. The bill (H.R. 3803 / S. 2103) currently has 183 co-sponsors in the House, and 21 in the Senate.
"Many members of Congress have been shocked to learn that, in the nation's capital, unborn babies now can be brutally killed up to the very moment of birth," said Douglas Johnson, federal legislation director for NRLC.