Posted: 5:41 pm Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A surprise bid to undercut the clout of Georgia Right to Life 

By Jim Galloway

On Friday, behind a closed door in Washington, an upstart group with substantial but unstated political backing back home will ask the National Right to Life organization to discard Georgia Right to Life — the most powerful anti-abortion force in the state Capitol — as one of its 50 state affiliates.

It’s a bold power play that involves the current Republican race for the U.S. Senate, a threatened Democratic resurgence in Georgia, and GRTL’s insistent refusal to recognize incest and rape as exceptions to its blanket condemnation of abortion.

Candidates who disagree with the Georgia chapter’s uncompromising position that abortion is acceptable only when the life of the mother is at stake do not win GRTL’s stamp of approval.

The same goes for legislation, whether state or federal. Even if that legislation is backed by GRTL’s parent organization, National Right to Life.

GRTL “has been willing to say we cannot support the killing of any class of human being because of their conception mode,” said unapologetic spokesman Mike Griffin, who pointed to his group’s success in Georgia since 2002 as evidence that an unconditional approach is politically viable.

“They say the proof is in the pudding. There’s a lot of pudding here,” Griffin said. “Which begs the question, why the challenge?”

One likely answer: Many Republican critics worry that such absolutism will become a liability as the state makes its slow but relentless demographic march back to Democratic parity.

GRTL President Dan Becker, who set the Georgia chapter on its independent course, has posted the following on his group’s website: “Pray that pro-lifers in Georgia and nationwide will stand strong and not be misled by watered-down efforts just for the sake of politics.”

Carol Tobias, the president of National Right to Life, on Wednesday confirmed the bid to oust GRTL through a spokesman. The final decision will be made Saturday by a 58-member NRL board of directors — representing 50 state chapters, including the GRTL, plus eight at-large members.

An initial presentation will be made Friday evening to a credentials committee by Emily Matson, a Rome attorney representing a group called Georgia Life Alliance.

It was formed two weeks ago.

“We are challenging because we believe Georgia Life Alliance can and will more effectively carry out and achieve goals and objectives of National Right to Life than Georgia Right to Life, Inc., is currently doing,” reads the letter from Matson to GRTL, giving notice.

Also listed as GLA officers are Kristin Radtke of Suwanee, a former staffer for the Family Research Council, and Lance Cooper, a one-time GOP candidate for the state Senate from west Cobb County. Cooper is the attorney who recently forced General Motors to recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles with faulty ignition systems.

Beyond that, Matson is not ready to say who’s behind the group.

“There’s a long list of people who want to participate in this. It’s not just one person supporting one candidate,” she said in a telephone interview.

“I know that the people behind us believe that life begins at conception. How we are going to phrase that exactly, I’m not prepared to tell you,” Matson said. “Every move we make to protect life is a good move.”

That last point is important — and an allusion to last year’s NRL-backed bill to prohibit women from seeking an abortion after a pregnancy has progressed 20 weeks.

Georgia had passed a version of the bill a year earlier, but without exceptions for rape or incest — at GRTL’s insistence. But House Republicans moved the federal bill only after the exceptions were added. Doing otherwise, they feared, would exacerbate their national party’s well-documented problem with female voters.

Of the three House members in the GOP race for the Senate, only Paul Broun of Athens sided with GRTL, which opposed the legislation. Broun’s photo is now displayed prominently on the GRTL website as the only candidate endorsed by the group.

Jack Kingston of Savannah and Phil Gingrey of Marietta voted yes. Another Senate candidate, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, has a well-known history with GRTL.

In 2010, as a candidate for governor, Handel refused to concede on the rape-and-incest issue, and she also expressed doubts about GRTL’s efforts in the state Capitol to restrict in vitro fertilization procedures.

But Republican candidates who have issues with GRTL have been silent when it comes to this latest development. Clearly, some are waiting until Saturday to see whether the dynamics of abortion politics in Georgia are about to change.

Others are already lining up behind GRTL and its leadership. Tim Echols, a member of the Public Service Commission, called Becker “a courageous state and national leader” who has altered the way Republican candidates approach the abortion issue.

“I hope those who are trying to displace Dan and Georgia Right to Life realize the grave responsibility state organizations have in educating the public, lobbying officials and changing the culture,” Echols said.

55 comments
tinhat
tinhat

This will still be a campaign issue whether the NRTL affiliate changes or not. Paul Broun, Jr. will make it one.


As a side note, I'd like to see someone write an article about his father, who was a state senator from Athens for nearly 40 years. Not many folks remember him, and most assume, wrongly, that the the Athens Loop is named in honor of his son.

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

Most Pro-Lifers don"t remember why Roe v Wade was deemed constitutional or the health situation before the decision.  It is also amazing how PL's only blame women when sex takes two.

Lynn43
Lynn43

I can't believe how ugly some of you are to each other. And now on to the subject.  How many of these zealots would prevent their daughter from getting an abortion if they had been raped, and since we are talking about mostly white racist men opposing "choice", by a gang member.  My senator lives down the road from me, and he is one of the most egotistical, racist, power hungary, and controlling  people I've even met.  He is one of those who has stated that he believes in NO abortion regardless of the situation.  Some day he may have his position put to the test. 

honested
honested

You almost have to feel sorry for these people.


The Country moved beyond their tunnel vision policies a quarter century ago and they are still attached to the notion they should be not only asked but ASKED FIRST in developing sensible family planning policy.


I begin to understand how Galileo must have felt.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

The recent incarceration of the Johns Hopkins educated physician, Tyrone Cecil Malloy, M.D., by the Deal Administration for performing therapeutic abortions is a clear cut example of how far out on the right wing this administration has gotten.  These procedures are, of course, available to appropriate women, they are  established fact-based medical practice, and the political debate has been litigated all the way to the Supreme Court.  Governor Deal believes he can side-step the law and begin placing those of us that disagree in prison.  The stench of fascism is beginning to emanate from the capitol and is strongest up there in Buckhead.  The U.S. Attorney is now investigating Deal for Ethics violations, the firing of state investigators, the acceptance of $25,000 to drop the state workers United Health Insurance, and replace it with a low-cost Wellpoint/Anthem policy, the refusal to allow open bidding, and the acceptance of $153,000 to privatize the child welfare program.  The U.S. Attorney can add this recent imprisonment of Dr. Malloy (multi-year sentence) for additional investigation as Georgia drifts further into third world status and behavior. 

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Lil Ed and Centrist, sitting in a tree....

well, you know...

TBS
TBS

Little Ed cried the day the circus came to town
'cause she didn't want parades just passin' by her
So she painted on a smile and took up with some clown
While she danced without a net upon the wire


Don't cry out loud
Just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Evidently I am in the minority in Georgia being mildly pro-choice.  It is an issue half way down my list of voting priorities and either voters are with me, or very strong in their pro-life stances since we have all Republicans elected state wide: Governor, Senate, House, Attorney General, both U.S. Senators, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State,  Superintendent of Schools, Agricultural Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, and Commissioner of Labor.  I am not positive if all the state wide elected members of the Public Service Commission are Republicans, but there is no doubt the Republican Party controls the state of Georgia and will for some time to come.

TBS
TBS

Little Ed


If you don't get help at Charter get help somewhere.  


Don't go through life being the emotional downtrodden wreck that you are, there is help for you. 

TBS
TBS

Don't cry little Ed.


Your emotional outburst earlier was amusing but seeing you can't control them you might need help.   



Kamchak
Kamchak

...a threatened Democratic resurgence in Georgia...

First the transfer of medicaid expansion from the executive to the legislative branch, and now this.

Georgia Republicans are skeeeeeered of becoming has-beens.

Just sayin'.

johnscreekfamily
johnscreekfamily

Sounds like a 3 week old start-up would be helpful to give cover to many lukewarm Republicans, but not good for much else. Hasn't GRTL has worked with lawmakers and other pro-life groups to pass a long series of bills in Georgia recommended by National Right to Life? Good for them if none of them contain exceptions that say some pre-born lives are less valuable than others!

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

I thought that was the case, tinhat - thanks - sometimes you actually learn something from the comments to these blogs...

honested
honested

@CuriousPrime  

They want to forget the efforts their grandfathers and great-grandfathers put forth to provide part of a generation of fatherless children.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@CuriousPrime Their short memory isn't limited to that. It extends to when an unwanted fetus turns into an unwanted child; and the once sacrosanct fetus they then vilify as the needless "taker".

johnscreekfamily
johnscreekfamily

@Ralph-43  Huh??? Your Malloy was committing Medicaid FRAUD!  And the prosecution and trial was in DeKalb County.  What's Deal or got to do with it?

EdUktr
EdUktr

@TBS  

In Panama, circus folk are still looked up to.

SaraJames
SaraJames

@The_Centrist Don't know that you're in the minority.  I agree with NorthAtlanta... "I do believe abortions after 20 weeks are obscene and should only be performed if the life of the mother is in danger or the fetus is not viable."  I know a lot of other women feel the same.  Time will tell if we turn out to be in the minority.

johnscreekfamily
johnscreekfamily

@The_Centrist  Yes, all statewide officers you listed are Republicans and furthermore, completed the requirements to receive Georgia Right to Life endorsements.  PSC has some members who were not running that year, not sure if they were endorsed in the years they ran. Also 7 of the Congressional delegation elected were endorsed by GRTL.  GRTL isn't radical for Georgia, I guess, is it?

Kamchak
Kamchak

It is an issue half way down...


Time to employ that handy dandy step stool.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@Kamchak  

We're looking forward to hearing your excuses after election day. Sport.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@johnscreekfamily This case was brought by the state after being dismissed in Federal court.  It was called Medicaid fraud because Georgia claimed that therapeutic abortion is illegal in Georgia.  The Federal court said that therapeutic abortion is legal in the United States.  In Franz Kafka like fashion, the state then claimed that it had funded a portion of Medicaid and therefore the state portion had been illegally obtained.  A repeat trial was then held and Dr. Malloy was sentenced by the state - not the federal government.  This is clearly a miscarriage of justice based on a political issue.  No one claimed that Dr. Malloy had billed for procedures that had not been performed (i.e., fraud).  Dr. Malloy is a political prisoner.  The U.S. Attorney and F.B.I. must include this in their review as well as the multiple ethics violations already documented.

honested
honested

@SaraJames @The_Centrist 

Well, I guess that puts both of you in the minority.

Of course, I'm in the minority too.

I firmly believe in a 60 week policy.

That gives you time to get over buyers remorse, sense currently you cant send them back.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

@SaraJames I'm even a little uncomfortable with 20 weeks.  My point is that Roe v. Wade is established law in all 50 states, so how individual candidates feel about it does not concern me much.  Some states are attempting to qualify it, and unless it is just to circumvent/ repeal the law - maybe such restrictions have merit.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

@johnscreekfamily - I guess it is not radical for Georgia, and many voters like me don't give it much consideration either way.  Too many other larger issues.

I'm sure some politicians (say Broun and Handel) score a lot higher on the GRTL scale than others, and is one reason I have rejected them.

TBS
TBS

@EdUktr @Kamchak 

Seeing you have been nothing but one excuse in life and have only gotten worse since November 2012 it is funny you speak of excuses.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

@EdUktr

We're looking forward to hearing your excuses after election day.

We?

Who was it exactly that granted you the authority to speak on behalf of anyone but yourself?

Just askin'.

Sport.

Kamchak
Kamchak

So your first thought is that I'm a liar? 

(shrug)

If the shoe fits....

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

@Kamchak So your first thought is that I'm a liar?  Real nice.  I'll remember that sport!

Kamchak
Kamchak

What you can't google??? 


You made the assertion, sport. It's not my job to do your work.

You can either back it up, or you can't.

It's not complicated.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

@Kamchak  What you can't google???  Go check 1999 & 2008 records on Dr. Malloy from the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

So your defense of a murder[sic] (Malloy) is off base.

Malloy was convicted of murder?

Got proof?

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

@Ralph-43 @johnscreekfamily  Hey Ralphie boy, In Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980), the Court ruled 5-4 that the Hyde Amendment’s abortion 

funding restrictions were constitutional.


So your defense of a murder (Malloy) is off base.  FYI - Malloy & Eric Holder are buddies so anything unconstitutional is because of Holder not Deal.  

SaraJames
SaraJames

@The_Centrist @SaraJames I understand. Even if someone agrees in part, people have different comfort levels regarding the time period. 


GRTL is pretty radical.  They've made their end goal clear. I also disagree with their stance to prohibit embryonic stem cell research.  A lot of people could be helped with stem cells.

Kamchak
Kamchak

More deflecturbation and stalling tactics.

Just remindin'.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@Kamchak @EdUktr  

How many times you going to edit this rejoinder—without improving it?

Sport.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@td1234 @TBS "never add any substance to the topic at hand. "

That's right TBS, try to limit your comments to what the laws are in France, and how things are in Panama, you know, appropriate topics for a blog concerning Jawja politics.

TBS
TBS

@td1234  

And no you can't be my groupie. 

td1234
td1234

@TBS, I see you come over here and act the same way you do at Bookman's. Play silly little boy games and never add any substance to the topic at hand. 

EdUktr
EdUktr

@TBS @EdUktr @Kim_Jong-Un  

Yes, I'm sorry for pointing out how small and insignificant Panama is.

It's still next to Colombia, right?

TBS
TBS

@EdUktr @TBS@Kim_Jong-Un 

Don't cry little Ed.

You melted-down on the last thread for nothing.

Are you ok emotionally?  

Are you equipped to get through your day?  Maybe a therapist is in order.  Just passing on some friendly advise to a emotionally distraught and unstable blogger.

It's ok little Ed.