The battle over abortion rights is becoming so contentious in Georgia that it is threatening to split the state’s Republican base.
Rep. Ron Stephens (R) is an anti-choice Republican but recently voted against a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. He was one of 16 other Republicans opposing the measure and recently described that experience to the Savannah Morning News.
Stephens voted against the bill in part based on his own daughter Ashlin’s pregnancy just a few years prior when her child was diagnosed with trisomy, a debilitating and tragic genetic defect. After hearing the devastating news, the family opted for abortion.
“At five months, they told her part of her baby’s brain was outside the skull and the heart was inverted,” he said. “They said it would take only one or two breaths. She would have watched it die.” After huddling with her family, she opted for an abortion.
When the bill initially came to a vote in the House, there was no opportunity to amend it to provide exceptions for such situations. Stephens said he was so upset he felt sick and walked off the floor during the roll call.
“For something this cruel to happen to my daughter, or anyone’s daughter,” he said, “is just plain inhumane. I consider myself pro-life, but this provision was a distortion of pro-life values.”
Once the bill was amended to exempt “medically futile” pregnancies Stephens ultimately voted for it.
But it wasn’t enough for the hard right that is driving the Republican party nationwide. After the vote Stephens and other Republicans who voted against the cruel bill were immediately attacked by the Peach Tea Party for breaking ranks.
It’s always a good reminder that the Tea Party is not, nor was it really ever, about anything other than promoting a radical right agenda dressed up as “fiscal reform.”
Photo from world cant wait via flickr.
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