Interview With Judie Brown on Pro-life Hope From Dramatic Georgia Bill
By Peter J. Smith
ATLANTA, Georgia, January 16, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the Georgia House of Representatives prepares to debate a bill designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, pro-life groups in Georgia are mobilizing constituencies to create a groundswell of support for the proposed total ban on abortion. In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, Judie Brown, president of American Life League, spoke about House Bill 1 sponsored by pro-life champion Rep. Bobby Franklin in the upcoming pro-life battle for Georgia and the bill’s potential for success especially in how it responds to Roe v. Wade.
LifeSiteNews: What is your reaction to this new direct challenge coming out of Georgia to Roe v. Wade and how hopeful are you for its chances?
Brown: “We are quite enthusiastic about Rep. Franklin’s bill because he has faced opposition for the last three years and has persisted in reintroducing the bill. Each time that he does he gains more support, so now in the state of Georgia, there is more interest among pro-family groups than ever before in supporting this bill and it quite possibly could pass the legislature this time.”
LifeSiteNews: Would Governor Perdue sign the bill if passed by the General Assembly?
Brown:“You know there is a big question mark about the governor, and I’m really not sure. I believe that prudentially if the governor saw passage of the bill through the Georgia legislature, he would feel nearly compelled because of all the debates that have gone on about this bill over the last three years. If I were he in the political position he’s in, I would sign it because it would be clear after all this legislative debate that the legislature has finally decided there should be no abortion in the state of Georgia.”
LifeSiteNews: What seems to make this bill unique is that it establishes an unborn child as a person under the 14th Amendment?
Brown: “That is correct. [It is] the recognition of personhood [for the preborn] under the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which is ultimately is [sic] the goal of the entire pro-life movement, and which is why every single organization in the pro-life movement should be supporting rep Franklin and his efforts.”
LifeSiteNews: Can you explain how Rep. Franklin’s bill directly responds to the reasoning of Justice Harry Blackmun in the 1973 Roe v Wade decision?
Brown:“When Roe v. Wade came down, Blackmun said, if the fetus is ever established as a person under the 14th Amendment, this decision will fail.”
LifeSiteNews: How did Blackmun use the exception in the Texas abortion law in justifying Roe?
Brown: “Blackmun took exception to the exception in the bill in Texas, because he said that clearly, if the people of Texas had truly wanted to outlaw all abortions they would not have included an exception for the life of the mother. Therefore he found the bill contradictory. That haunts us even today, because the partial birth abortion bill contains an exception, and I’m positive the Supreme Court will say the same thing.”
LifeSiteNews: So really one of the strengths of the Georgia bill is that it does not have an exception?
Brown: “Absolutely, if you want to establish protection for a specific class of human beings, you cannot exclude some of them from that protection. You either will establish protection for that class of human beings or you won’t. It would be similar to saying that we want to protect all African-Americans under the 14th Amendment except those living in a particular county. You can’t do that, you have to be consistent in your approach or your approach will fail.”
LifeSiteNews: How is the Georgia bill different from the initiative that failed last election in South Dakota?
Brown: “The difference in the initiative in the two bills is that the bill passed by the South Dakota legislature outlawed all medical abortions and outlawed all surgical abortions. It did not outlaw any abortion that occurred prior to implantation.”
LifeSiteNews: What lessons may pro-life groups have learned from South Dakota for this next fight in Georgia?
Brown: “The lesson to be learned as far as the pro-life movement is concerned is that when there is any division in the movement over the principle of whether or not to protect all innocent babies - even if its just a specific type of abortion - we will lose, and we will lose because the people of this country are already in favor of exceptions. If the pro-life movement does the very same thing that the public is doing, they’re contradicting their goal and they are bound to lose. One of the reasons why we failed in South Dakota was because some pro-life groups, National Right to Life in particular, would not support the South Dakota bill because it did not contain exceptions.”
LifeSiteNews: How do you expect American Life League and other pro-life groups to respond to this bill?
Brown: “I think that there should be unanimous support for the bill in Georgia, and I am hoping that every pro-life group with a constituency in the state of Georgia does everything they possibly can to muster the grassroots people to pressure their elected officials in Georgia to pass this bill.”
LifeSiteNews: Are you aware of any latest developments in Bobby Franklin’s HB 1?
Brown:“The latest development that I’m aware of is the February 10 rally that will be held in Atlanta. We are participating in that and we are coordinating with people right there in the state.”
LifeSiteNews: Thank you once again, do you have any final comment you’d like to give LifeSite readers?
Brown:“My closing comment on this bill would be that every one who reads the interview should immediately contact Rep. Franklin in Georgia and thank him for standing up for all innocent preborn children in Georgia without exception; he’s a very heroic man.”
HB1 sponsored by Rep. Bobby Franklin recognizes an unborn child as a person from the moment of conception, deserving rights and due process of law guaranteed under the 14th amendment. It would ban all abortions as a felony equivalent to homicide, and cites the tremendous personal, societal, and financial costs incurred in 34 years of legal abortion. The bill makes no exceptions to abortion, but does guarantee "if a physician makes a medically justified effort to save the lives of both the mother and the fetus and the fetus does not survive, such action shall not be an abortion."
Rep. Franklin has indicated the bill will pass if it reaches the House floor for a vote, however Cindy Coates of Georgia4Life Coalition, the group leading the push for HB1, told LifeSiteNews.com both high attendance at the rally and a costly media battle will be necessary to convince House representatives to allow the bill to come to a vote.
Information for the February 10 rally in Atlanta, Georgia as well as ways to contribute to the media campaign can be found at:
Cindye Coates of Georgia4Life Coalition
Web address of Georgia4Life
Contributions can be sent to the following address:
1557 Hascall Dr
Marietta, Georgia 30064
To contact Rep. Bobby Franklin:
Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
E-mail: [email protected]
See LifeSiteNews coverage:
Georgia Prepares to Battle Roe v. Wade
House bill challenges Roe by establishing personhood of unborn
HB 1 in PDF format can be found here: