Governor Brian Kemp signed HB 481, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act–also known as the Heartbeat bill–into law today. This law drew a lot of opposition when going through the General Assembly earlier this year and will likely face legal challenges. Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford), who herself received harsh criticism and threats for sponsoring the bill in the Senate, issued a statement on the signing of the bill:
“Today Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 481 into law in his office. It was my honor to have been along on this arduous journey with Representative Ed Setzler, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and my Senate Republican Caucus members, who have all had faith and confidence in my leadership skills. Preserving the sanctity of life beginning at conception has been the cornerstone of my legislative tenure. Having sponsored multiple pro-life laws such as the ‘Women’s Right to Know’ and its revision, the ultrasound law which requires testing before an abortion and felony convictions for those who commit infanticide – the killing of a newborn, protecting the life of the mother and the unborn baby has always been a top priority. My tenacity for this important issue stems from the birth adoption of my own two children – Rachel and Zak. I will forever be grateful for their natural birth mothers for allowing me to share in the joy of having God’s children and being their adoptive mother.
I want to extend my gratitude to Governor Kemp and Lt. Governor Duncan for honoring my motherhood experience and allowing me to carry HB 481 in the Senate so that we can ensure babies are saved and given the opportunity to have a fruitful, meaningful life. It is truly God’s work to be successful with our initiative for HB 481 – the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act – to become law in the state of Georgia.”
House Bill 481 – the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act – will outlaw abortions after the heartbeat of the child in the womb is medically established. There are four exceptions when a pregnancy could be terminated up to 20 weeks – pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, is medically futile or puts the mother’s life at risk. House Bill 481 will become effective on January 1, 2020.
Senator Unterman is a former nurse and is a champion and advocate of health issues including the introduction of various pro-life legislation. HB 481 is certainly a major achievement in her political career.
I have women friends who fall on both sides of the adoption argument. I respect the opinions of my friends, and I know that they respect my pro-life position. I personally believe that life begins at conception.
I’m a father and I can’t describe the emotions I felt of seeing my son growing on the ultrasound each time his mother went to the doctor and then to see him enter this world and take his first breath. The only thing that really comes close is joy. Absolute, sheer joy. Week six was nerve-wracking because I had heard the risk of miscarriage is high up until week six. Seeing and hearing Lucas’ heartbeat on the ultrasound was a relief.
I understand that pregnancy isn’t always planned or necessarily wanted. HB 481 is seen as an attack on women rather than as a protection of unborn children. This is where we, as a society, should become more supportive of women who are facing parenthood alone.
As a Christian, I believe the Church has a calling to support women: those who are or are becoming single moms, those who have had abortions, and those who have lost children. Rather than alienating or casting aspersions towards them and surround them with love, grace, and mercy and a support network that they will need. They need to understand that they are not alone.
As Theresa stated a few weeks ago, being pro-life isn’t just celebrating the legislative accomplishment and checking a box. We are going to face some big consequences from this bill. Our next step is to determine how we as a state will partner with charities and communities of faith to ensure that the support network is there for women.
The work has only just begun for the pro-life community.