BERNARD COLUMN: Georgia abortion law and the election

Published 10:30 am Thursday, November 3, 2022

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By Jack Bernard
Bernard is a retired corporate executive

Georgian men and women should pay attention to the stands of the two parties regarding abortion when they go to vote in November. There are three possible positions that legislators can take regarding abortion-a. all abortions should be legal, b. abortions should be legal under reasonable circumstances, and c. there should be no abortions permitted. According to numerous surveys, most Americans support “b” above. In fact, only a little over a third want abortion outlawed in almost all cases. 

However, the recently issued GOP “Commitment to America Plan” states the national GOP’s clear policy of “protecting the lives of the unborn.” In other words, a fetus is legally a person from the time of fertilization. An abortion of any sort means committing a murder. 

Due to a similar stand by the GOP in Georgia, our state is one of the most reactionary when it comes to restricting a woman’s right to control her own body.  

In 2019, conservative Gov. Brian Kemp and our right-wing GOP-dominated General Assembly pushed through (on a party line vote) a state law in which all but outlaws abortions in our state while pretending to give women a say. Specifically, the 2019 Georgia law prohibits abortions after 6 weeks. The only exception is if a police report has been filed regarding rape or incest. Most women do not even know if they are pregnant at six weeks. And many victims of rape and incest do not go to the police for a wide variety of very valid reasons. 

Up until the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), this law would have been found to be illegal. Therefore, it had been blocked from taking effect. However, due to the highly political nature of the current Supreme Court, with 3 extremist members appointed by Trump, the prior decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion under reasonable circumstances was thrown out. Many legal scholars have questioned the legal basis for this decision (Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Org) in that it voided precedent and was directly contrary to what several nominees had stated during their Congressional hearings. 

Regardless, until several SCOTUS members depart, and more moderate judges are appointed, the ruling will stand. Which leaves Georgia and other states in charge of abortions. 

Recently, I mentioned to a wealthy, educated middle-aged conservative man that the Georgia law would have negative consequences. His misogynistic response was that the law would not affect him. But he is very wrong. 

This married man has three daughters in high school or college. What if one of them accidently gets pregnant? Would he just accept his 17-year-old high school daughter dropping out of school and giving birth? Of course, he absolutely would not. 

Elitists like this hypocritical man would just send their daughter up North on a trumped-up (pun intended) “vacation” to have an abortion. 

The outrageous hypocrisy of the GOP is nowhere more evident than in the Georgia national Senate race. Candidate Hershel Walker has been accused of paying for one abortion and asking the same woman to get a second. Yet, Walker wants to ban abortions nationally. 

Georgians must be aware of our state GOP’s stand against a woman’s freedom to choose. The only way to change our state law is to vote out those in our legislature who voted for it. And that includes every GOP state senator and all but 5 GOP state House members.