The chase to Crossover Day in the Georgia General Assembly (when bills must be voted out of one side of the legislature or die) allows our elected officials to be seen at their worst and their best. Women and men across the state who value the ability of women, and their doctors, to make responsible decisions about their health care, have opposed HB 954 and SB 438.
SB 438, which passed yesterday, is stunning in its interference in the decision-making process for women’s health. The bill removes any state employee insurance coverage for a legal abortion unless the mother’s health is at serious risk. The AJC reports that the lead sponsor of SB 438, Sen Mike Crane, R-Newnan, drew gasps when refusing to add exceptions for rape and incest victims.
The 33-18 vote so angered Democratic women in the Senate that they linked arms and left the floor. Valenica Seay, D-Riverdale, said, “This is not a good day for women in Georgia. “Come on, guys. We are not your property.”
The House has also been hard at work reducing health care options for women. HB 954 shortened the window of time for a legal abortion from 26 weeks to 20. Again, the question bears asking: Do state legislators in Georgia think their wives, daughters, aunts, nieces, granddaughters, friends, and doctors, are really incapable of making good decisions about abortions (which are still legal despite Conservative efforts).
Well, Rep Terry England, R-Auburn, seems to think that the women in our state can fairly be compared to cows, pigs, and chickens. England thinks that stillborn pigs and calves make for good comparisons when talking about the difficult decisions involving abortion. I don’t think I can give his comments from the House floor their due, but fortunately Bryan Long at Better Georgia posted video footage of England explaining his thoughts before voting on HB 945.
What is next Rep. England? Giving farm animals the right to vote? Or stripping away a woman’s right to do that too?