ATLANTA — After some 35 minutes of debate, the Georgia House of Representatives voted this afternoon by a count of 92-78 to “agree” with the version passed through the Senate. The action sends the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, also known as the fetal heartbeat bill, to Governor Brian Kemp’s desk.
Kemp has maintained strong support for the bill’s passage dating back to his gubernatorial campaign and is expected to sign it. Heading into Friday, 91 votes were needed for its passage.
“I am overjoyed at the stand for life Georgia has taken with the passage of House Bill 481,” expressed W. Thomas Hammond, Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. “Technological advancements have only confirmed what the Word of God tells us – a living human being exists within the womb and that life must be protected as the most innocent among us.
“Thank you, Governor Brian Kemp, for your heroic support of this bill and resolve to face those outside of our state who would try to intimidate and denigrate Georgians’ morals and common-sense view of where life begins.”
Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Representative Mike Griffin didn’t mince words as to the bill’s historical significance.
“Today, members of the Georgia House of Representatives casts their final vote agreeing to the State Senate version of HB 481, otherwise known as the ‘Heartbeat Bill.’ Georgia Baptists thank these men and women for passing the single greatest piece of pro-life legislation ever approved in the state of Georgia. Once it is signed by Governor Brian Kemp, it will save tens of thousands of unborn children who would have otherwise been lost through abortion.
“Since every life is created in the image of God, saving as many lives as possible is paramount! Georgia Baptists are so thankful to the members of the House and Senate who made this a reality. We would also like to especially thank Senator Renee Unterman and Representative Ed Setzler who worked tirelessly to get this legislation across the finish line!”
A vote for reconsideration of the bill was given after its initial passage, but failed by a vote of 79-91.
“Georgia values life,” Kemp said in a statement following the vote. “We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage.
“Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper.”
A visibly emotional Griffin spoke to the vote on Facebook Live moments after the bill’s passage.
“I’ve been working here at the Capitol … through the years on a number of moral and social issues and this is one of the greatest days that I’ve ever had at the Capitol to see this legislation passed,” he said.