Your morning jolt: A fierce abortion debate in north Georgia

State Rep. Doug McKillip of Athens, author of an aggressive measure to shorten the period during which Georgia women can seek an abortion, last night faced Republican primary challenger Regina Quick in a debate sponsored by the Oconee Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM), who moderated the confrontation, sent over a clip of the sound this morning – which featured a detailed discussion of HB 954.

At the outset, McKillip – who was briefly chairman of the House Democratic caucus — ascribed his switch to the Republican party and his sponsorship of the anti-abortion measure to a religious conversion.

Quick emphasized her six-years’ service on the executive committee of the Clarke County Republican party, but also mentioned that she grew up in a bipartisan household, with a union-member father and a GOP poll-watching mother – perhaps a nod to Democrats now supporting her.

HB 954 was one of the most contentions bills of the session, and the first major piece of anti-abortion legislation to pass the General Assembly in years. Backed by Georgia Right to Life, McKillip based his bill’s 20-week limit on abortions – signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal — on the contention that it is at that stage of development that a fetus can feel pain.

Obstetricians opposed the measure, saying some tests that determine viability of a fetus can’t be administered until later. The law, they say, dooms women bearing fetuses without brains or lungs to carry to term – or to undergo caesarean sections the law now requires to give the aborted fetus every chance at survival.

McKillip opened the abortion discussion:

”That bill has not only every single Republican member of our Congressional delegation signed on to the fetal pain bill at the congressional level, but that bill as I drafted it is now being used nationwide as the template for pro-life legislation in the pro-life movement.”

Quick declared that she would not have voted for the measure:

”It’s a poor piece of legislation. You don’t need to take my word for it, or listen to my opponent. As an obstetrician locally what this bill does. It interferes with the patient-physician relationship and mandates substandard care for regular obstetric patients.

“In fact, the high-risk referral obstetrician in middle Georgia has already left the state because it mandates malpractice. It mandates a physician to commit malpractice. You’ll note that my opponent did not say they talked to obstetricians before the session, or listened to them during the session, because they didn’t.
“This bill creates a problem for women and unborn children in Georgia, because it did not take into account the very complicated medical situation between weeks 20 and 23. And there’s a reason that’s the constitutional standard for viability.”

McKillip said he indeed talked to and “got great advice” from obstetricians:

“More importantly, I talked to the insurance providers – the people who actually pay the bills for the tests that are necessary to provide the better care. They said, ‘We will simply do the tests earlier.’…In fact it will result in better care for pregnant women. It will result in no barbaric, late-term abortion which results in physical pain to the baby. And it will make Georgia a leader in the pro-life movement. So I’m afraid my pro-choice opponent is badly out of step with Republican principles of life in this state.’

Bryant asked Quick if she would describe herself as pro-choice. Said Quick:

”I’m either more pro-choice than Representative McKillip by three weeks, or he’s more pro-life than me by three weeks. But those three weeks are constitutionally protected for a reason…Ask an obstetrician what requiring a C-section – which is what this bill does – at Week 20 will do for a woman’s future ability to have a child. That’s what’s at stake here for women with high-risk pregnancies. And it’s not to be politicized. It’s a complicated issue legally; it’s a complicated issue medically. I am personally against abortion. I’ve said this over and over. I’ve never had one. I’ve never paid for anybody to have one. And I’ve never counseled anyone to have one.”

McKillip dismissed Quick’s allegations about mandatory c-sections as “propaganda from the other side,” and called viability of the fetus “a horrible constitutional standard.” HB 954 seeks to replace viability with fetal pain as the ruling constitutional standard.

***
Georgia Tip Sheet notes that the state’s lone congressional white Democrat and its highest ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee almost have something in common:

Republican Rep. Jack Kingston only narrowly edged Democrat Rep. John Barrow in a new scorecard by conservative Club for Growth in which House lawmakers are graded for their position on a series of recent spending amendments.

Grading legislative action on 25 appropriations measures, the group gave Kingston the lowest score of the state’s entire Republican delegation. Voting in the affirmative for only 8 of those spending cuts, Kingston notched a 32 of 100.

Barrow scored a 16.

***
Words can hurt. And lawyers hired to defend those words can hurt even more. From the Fayette County Citizen:

To help recoup what has become more than $12,000 in legal fees spent to defend Mayor Don Haddix from a libel lawsuit, the Peachtree City Council voted to give him a significant pay cut.
It means that Haddix will be paid just under $75 a month for the last three months of the fiscal year, a reduction of approximately $650 a month….

Haddix was the lone vote against the motion, arguing that he was legally reimbursed for the fees, and that no council approval was needed for that to occur. Councilman George Dienhart said the matter could have been addressed had Haddix agreed to repay the money.

In an email to a city employee, Haddix had accused a previous mayor of showing up “part drunk” to council meetings. As part of a settlement, Haddix paid $3,000 to that former mayor. Who we’re absolutely certain is a sober pillar of moral rectitude.

***
The intensity of his opposition will matter more than anything else, but Erick Erickson, local radio host, CNN contributor and editor of Redstate.com, said he will vote no on the transportation sales tax. From the Macon Telegraph:

”I have no philosophical objection to the T-SPLOST and actually think a number of the projects are very worthwhile. But the underlying transportation bureaucracy is filled with waste and abuse that the T-SPLOST will not just subsidize, but probably make permanent. We should fix our transportation bureaucracy before going down this road.”

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Republican challenger Stephen Simpson’s contention that U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has yet to pass a significant piece of legislation in Congress.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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28 comments Add your comment

Teddy Roosevelt

June 15th, 2012
10:15 am

Morally against abortion, but it has been shown to reduce crime rates….

Romegaguy

June 15th, 2012
10:16 am

Who cares what Erick Erickson feels about on T-Splost?

the cat

June 15th, 2012
10:25 am

Always comes back to the insurance companies making fortunes off us doesn’t it?

“More importantly, I talked to the insurance providers – the people who actually pay the bills

How out of touch McKillip is. He will be voted out by the smart women.

ralston

June 15th, 2012
10:26 am

McKillip, like every other Republican, is so far out of touch it is not even funny, its sad. The real problem for the USA is the GOP aka American Taliban! Trying to force their own religious beliefs to justify stupid laws. There is not a decent republican in the world today.

Tom

June 15th, 2012
10:28 am

Life-long GOP voter here, but Regina Quick, et al, is correct on the complex medical issues that were ignored in HB 954. It’s bad legislation.

azazel

June 15th, 2012
10:28 am

since more than half of births in ga are paid for by medicaid , this will certainly add to its 300 million deficit, perinatal icu’s are expensive.

Don't Tread

June 15th, 2012
10:31 am

I’m voting NO for exactly the same reasons Erick described.

jf

June 15th, 2012
10:31 am

So, how many years does it take Republicans to eliminate bureaucratic waste? Cuz, until the waste is eliminated, according to Erickson and the tea party, we are not allowed to create solutions to our problems.

GaBlue

June 15th, 2012
10:34 am

“McKillip – at one point chairman of the House Democratic caucus — ascribed his switch to the Republican party and his sponsorship of the anti-abortion measure to a religious conversion.”

Indeed. When he realized that his goals of political power, and the personal fortune to be gained with it, would be threatened if he did not jump on board uber-partisan, “we will crush you if you don’t agree with everything we say” one-party regime, he decided that integrity was underrated, and agreed to be a tool of the Georgia Talibaptists in their efforts to eliminate personal freedom — in the name of freedom.

Also, “religious conversion” is a convenient way to rationalize taking money from the Southeastern Planned Parenthood organization — that provides cancer screening and other preventive health services to women of limited means in states where high unemployment rates make for LOTS of limited-means women — under the guise of supporting them, then switching parties and refusing to return their donations. You know… FRAUD is okay, if you do it in the name of Jesus (Amen!) … and if arsonist thugs like GRTL come to your house and offer better than matching funds for your future campaigns if you agree to become their legislative sock puppet.

Oh, Doug….. Explaining your sins on judgement day will be a complex task indeed! Bless your heart.

Cutty

June 15th, 2012
10:36 am

Let the suburban anti-government folks stew in traffic on 75/85.

Auntie Christ

June 15th, 2012
10:38 am

“Slow news day.”

You would think that someone who lives on this blog 24/7, and whose raison d’etre is to be the first commenter of the day, would realize by now that it’s not a ‘news’ blog, but a political blog that discusses the political issues of the day. Have someone show you how to get to AJC.com, you’ll find lots of news there

the cat

June 15th, 2012
10:39 am

GaBlue-thank you for that post! My thoughts exactly but you are so much more eloquent than I am.

the cat

June 15th, 2012
10:40 am

Did Centrist get booted again? Oh my.

td

June 15th, 2012
11:09 am

This is a false argument. It does not matter if a human being is being killed at 20 or 23 weeks it is still being murdered. Abortion is either murder at any time or make it legal the entire time.

Ggggeorgia! Wha' Happened?

June 15th, 2012
11:09 am

The disentegration of the legislative branch of government in this state is our fault. We let panders like McKillip set the agenda. Fetal pain. Give me a break. What about the pain of the thousands of children his colleagues have abandoned by irresponsible cuts to peachcare and other programs for children. Education? fuhgetaboutit.
The height of ignorance can be seen easily in a review of the new criminal “reform” statute that creates such confusion that we will be seeing criminals go free. Speaking of that, anyone seen the disasterous new jury law? Who is making that money on what was a Free Good before this year?
As we rail and fight with each other about immigrants and fetuses and religion (that’s ironic, isn’t it) the legislature continues to privatize government for their buddies. Infrastructure? sure sell it to the highest bidder. Thankfully, the Governor stopped the private toll roads.
If we don’t stop being stupid, we’ll wake up one day and our path to work and the water we drink will be a corporate asset and when rates go up we won’t be able to vote out the Board of Directors.

GaBlue

June 15th, 2012
11:16 am

td,

You obviously know nothing about what was really contained in that bill, nor the horrifying realities of the families affected by its passage. This bill punishes people who are actually TRYING to be fruitful and multiply, threatening their lives, health, fertility, families, and — the less understood consequence of taking away a doctor’s right to practice medicine — access to qualified medical specialists by the people who need it most. This law has nothing whatsoever to do with your personal compulsion to legislate the “morality” of others. Zippo.

Ggggeorgia! Wha' Happened?

June 15th, 2012
11:20 am

And for td, you believe abortion is murder. I will stand up for your right to believe that. I believe that government policies that leave disadvantaged children at risk for malnourishment and is immoral. I recognize, however, that we can’t legislate the affairs of all of our consciences. I work to help children through religious organizations knowing all will not be helped. Perhaps you could assist is discouraging unwed pregnant teens from having abortions. If we let government focus on the things it should be doing instead of things it will never resolve (our divergent faiths), people can get back to work, the potholes will disappear and Lake Lanier can fill to top pool.

Auntie Christ

June 15th, 2012
11:29 am

This is just conjecture on my part, and a moot point, but I will bet the deed to my house that if the daughter of one of these rabid anti-freedom back water georgia legislators. or one of the the RTL bible thumpers announced that she was pregnant by a Black man, that young lady would be rushed to an abortion clinic so fast it would take an F 15 to catch them.

Auntie Christ

June 15th, 2012
11:51 am

“If we don’t stop being stupid, we’ll wake up one day and our path to work and the water we drink will be a corporate asset…”

As I’ve stated here multiple times, the t baggers, libertarians, and republicans cannot think more than ten minutes into the future, else they would see the ultimate result of their limited government philosophy, i.e. a country like Somalia or Yemen, where war lords rule and no one but they have ‘rights.’ But of course in this country we cannot be so politically incorrect as to call them war lords, we’ll call them corporations, and their minions will be called ‘public servants,’ and any ‘public servant’ that actually tries to serve, will be quickly dispatched, much the way a war lord deals with ‘traitors.’

Likewise these same tunnel visioned know nothings refuse to see the ultimate consequence of their drive for a ‘christian nation,’ i.e. a nation like Afghanistan under the rule of the taliban, since a bible thumper is no less fanatical than a koran thumper. The irony is, it is the liberals and non believers who are pushing for the real Christian principles of feeding the hungry, stopping war, and eliminating hatred.

ok

June 15th, 2012
11:59 am

I think the people of Athens will vote for the Democrat running against McKillip or Quick.

Bob Loblaw

June 15th, 2012
12:36 pm

@OK: there’s no Democrat.

Johnny

June 15th, 2012
3:12 pm

Here’s hoping McKillip gets flipped over and tossed-out come July 31st. Anyone is better than a David Ralston sychophant like McKillip

ld

June 15th, 2012
8:54 pm

Life begins at BIRTH –when a child can survive as one did when Jesus walked the earth — w/o massive and expensive medical intervention not available 2000 years ago.

Just as an egg is not a chicken; the nascant life of a fetus is not a child until it can be BORN (see above definition). I believe this at least if not more strongly than those who believe life begins at “conception” (anti-abortion) or “erection” (anti contraception). Others do as well and putting the religious dogma of some into law, restrictions that were NOT there when this nation was founded, is stripping away at individual liberty.

Also, threatening small children w/hell is nothing short of child abuse. If you find a child of normal intelligence that has not been indoctrinated w/religion and leave out the word “God” but start describing an invisible being that is NOT human that is lurking everywhere and waiting for you to screw up to throw you into an eternal fire … see what I mean.

If the law prohibited the indoctrination of children into religious myths and such myths could not be taught to minors — only adults — religion would go the way of Santa and his elves, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, etc., as it should — very few would believe.

If that is not enough, then consider this: If separation of church and state are co-mingled, it is entirely possible for a religion other than yours to be the majority at some time in the future and then, if majority rules, your own decendents could be required to convert or be punished — even executed if the death penalty is not “off the table”.

Paddy O

June 16th, 2012
1:35 am

Exactly what is the medical necessity to perform an abortion? Any other than convenience for the female?

Paddy O

June 16th, 2012
1:37 am

ld – that is the feminist/atheist viewpoint. A fetus’ heart begins beating at about 6 weeks. It is genetically independent of the mother. It is simply dependent upon the mother. Amoral liberals have persuaded a gullible American female populace that their convenience outweighs the fetus’ right to exist. It is NOT a morally supportable position. If you don’t want kids, avoid fornication.

Paddy O

June 16th, 2012
1:40 am

ld – you realize the constution would have to be amended to allow your execution fantasy? The constitution does NOT demand a separation of church & state as atheists and other asinine idealism liberals think. It does however specifically prohibit Congress from passing a law mandating the citizens adhere to a specific religious practice. Stupidity & immorality cause most Americans to opt for the lazy mans political movement – liberalism.

Paddy O

June 16th, 2012
1:41 am

auntie crist – you do liberals proud – demonizing your opponents with fictional straw man arguments – utterly devoid of any fact or historical reference. Liberals are generally perceived as being knee jerk for a reason – them leap to conclusions without an abundance of fact to back up their opinions.

Dumb and Dumber

June 16th, 2012
10:15 am

well….rapists and child molesters have parental rights too…fatherhood is sacred, women are just vessels for carrying a man’s baby