As many of you now know, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, commonly referred to as Georgia’s Heartbeat Law, was ruled constitutional and was put into full effect by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 20.
This legislation outlaws abortions after it is determined that there is a heartbeat. This bill, authored by Rep. Ed Setzler and signed into law in 2019 by Gov. Brian Kemp is the most important legislation passed by the legislature in my 15 years of lobbying at the State Capitol.
I am not overstating when I tell you how desperately we need this law! In Georgia, depending on which year you look at, we have been aborting babies in numbers almost as high as 35,000 in one year.
Before the fetal pain bill (HB 954) was passed in 2012, Georgia had been ranked #3 in the nation for late-term abortions. We were experiencing 1,000 to 1,500 late-term abortions a year.
We also, in essence, had become a “destination location” for women from other states to have these kinds of abortions. Statistics show that as many as 49 percent of the late-term abortions carried out in Georgia were performed on women from other states.
With this court ruling, we now have the opportunity to progress from protecting unborn children from at least 20 weeks (because of the fetal pain law), to approximately six weeks with the heartbeat law.
Think about it! We can eliminate most abortions after approximately six weeks in the state of Georgia. This kind of legislation, even with its exceptions, will save thousands of innocent human lives.
If the heartbeat law just saves one baby’s life, it would be worth it. We are taught in the book of Genesis, Chapter 1, about mankind being created in the Image of God. This means all human life is sacred. This means each individual life is important, even if it is just one. Therefore, we should be seeking to save as many of the “ones” as we can.
We live in a fallen, sin-sick world, but we have a perfect standard of the sanctity of all human life given to us in Scripture, and we must therefore do all we can to save as many lives as possible. We must do all we can, to save all we can, without giving up!
Thankfully the Heartbeat Law (the LIFE Act) will not save just one, but thousands of lives, as we move forward to recognize that life in a mother’s womb begins at conception and that ALL life is worthy of protection because God’s Word teaches it.
I think President Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life –the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life!”
Why do you think we have been debating “after-birth abortion” and “late-term abortions” in our country? It is because we have devalued the worth of innocent little children in the womb. Now because of abortion, children outside the womb have been devalued as well.
Devaluing life on the inside of the womb leads to devaluing life outside the womb. This principle, however, also tells me how to increase the value of life on the outside … you start by again valuing life on the inside. The Heartbeat Law is leading us in the right direction.
This is what is happening in Georgia. Expanding protection for the unborn to the earliest days of conception, and further away from actual delivery, increases the value of unborn life.
The Life ACT is commonsense legislation that says we will save as many lives as we possibly can, beginning at approximately six weeks, as we educate our nation on the importance of ALL human life!
Never has there been a time in this country, that we needed to act more quickly to begin saving more lives and reshaping our nation’s conscience on the sanctity of all human life. Every heartbeat is important, and Georgia can make a difference in saving as many heartbeats as possible!
Mike Griffin is the Public Affairs Representative for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.