All posts by Nathaniel Darnell

Nathaniel Darnell is a former legislative aide to Georgia State Senator Mike Crane, and holds a juris doctorate from Oak Brook College of Law. He has served as a director at ministries such as Vision Forum and American Vision as well as a filmmaker and graphics designer. He is the author of the novel “Glory, Duty, & Gold Dome” and the producer of over 120 commercial videos. Before working as the Director of the Video Department at Vision Forum Ministries for five years, he served for eight years as a legislative aide at the Georgia State Capitol. He reports and writes regularly for Persevero! News.

Georgia DCH votes to halt taxpayer funding of employee abortions

Last week saw a significant victory for the pro-life movement in Georgia as Governor Nathan Deal worked with the Department of Community Health to vote to restrict state employee insurance policies from covering abortions. State employees currently receive abortion coverage in their insurance package, approximately 75% of which is paid for with taxpayer funds. The changes would ban elective abortion coverage for the roughly 650,000 people covered by the State Health Benefit Plan. The number covered includes current employees, retirees, and dependents.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the  Department of Community Health voted 5-3 on a health care plan design that would restrict state employee insurance policies from covering these abortions. The policy change was backed by Governor Deal after lawmakers failed to pass similar legislation for the last two years.

Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia. | Source: National Right to Life News

The number of state employees taking advantage of the abortion services has been on the decline in recent years, but this policy would halt it altogether for the time being. Some 549 patients under the state plan sought abortions in fiscal year 2009, costing $343,728 in state taxpayer money, and 447 sought abortions in 2010. In 2011, 366 surgical abortions and 47 medical abortions were performed for state employees. The total cost that year was nearly $223,000, the majority of which involved taxpayer funds.

For the last two years, State Senator Mike Crane (R-Newnan) has fought for legislation to remove abortion coverage from state employee insurance plans. “We have protected the life of a fish,” Crane said. “I expect the same for the life of the unborn.”

Senator Crane’s legislation is still needed. While the vote from the Department of Community Health is a significant act that stops state taxpayers from being forced to finance abortion services for state employees, the measure can just as easily be undone by a future administration unless legislation is passed to make this policy permanent.

Under the Georgia State Constitution, the Board of Regents alone have jurisdiction over state employees in the higher educational system, which the Georgia General Assembly cannot touch apart from a state constitutional amendment. This means that a simple statute passed by the state legislature would be capable of permanently banning state-funded abortions services for every state agency except those under the university system of the state. The Department of Community Health’s vote as an agency of the state executive branch appears to at least have the benefit of including the university system as well in its policy scope.

Governor Deal said this ensures “that state taxpayers aren’t paying for a procedure that many find morally objectionable.”

Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) issued a press release praising the governor for taking this action. “I am deeply grateful to the Governor for his follow through on this important issue,” said Dan Becker, GRTL President. “His willingness to stand up for innocent life should serve as an example to others in Georgia[‘s] government.”

State Senator Mike Crane (R-Newnan).

Had it not been for State Senator Crane bringing this issue to the forefront of the public debate in the Georgia General Assembly, it might not have ever come to the attention of Governor Deal and the people of Georgia. His legislation twice passed the Republican-controlled State Senate but was halted in the also Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which is dominated by Georgia Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). Lobbying groups from the health care industry have been among the three largest contributors to Speaker Ralston since he became speaker in 2010, giving over $131,000 to his his personal re-election campaign.

Most other states have some kind of abortion subsidy for their state employees. Check with your state legislators to find out if your state is using your taxpayer funds to pay for other people’s abortions.

Georgia lawmakers revive effort to end state abortion subsides via employee health care plans

A year after being first introduced in the Georgia legislature, the measure to restrict Georgia employee health care plans from covering abortion services received new life. Yesterday evening, State Senator Mike Crane (R-Newnan, GA) successfully amended a Georgia House bill dealing with employee benefits at the Georgia World Congress Center to include the measure that he had first introduced as a State Senate bill last year. The move happened on Day 38 of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session. Lawmakers have until Thursday to approve the proposal, or it will die.

Mike-Crane
State Senator Mike Crane. Source: Mike Crane Facebook.

The 34-15 vote, which was not quite along party lines, sends House Bill 246 back to the House for consideration. Last year, Senator Crane’s bill passed the State Senate but then died in the House as House Republicans led by Speaker David Ralston (R-Elijay, GA) did nothing to move the bill out of House committee. As the measure is now attached to a House bill, rather than a Senate bill, and one with a good bit of momentum and support in the House, its chances of passing into law this year appear much stronger. HB 246 is an insurance bill that otherwise would allow the Georgia World Congress Center to make its own decisions related to employee benefits.

Senator Crane’s move to amend the bill took Democrats and anti-life lobbyists by surprise. They quickly scrambled to form what became a desperate effort to prevent the amended bill from passing the Senate. The hour-long debate on the Georgia State Senate floor created such a stir that it was reported by news organizations as far and wide as San Antonio and San Francisco.

Nikema Williams, with Planned Parenthood Southeast, complained that there had been “[n]o public  hearings and no public input. This is a huge surprise.” This was not accurate, however, as the same measure had been heard several times last year in Senate committees, where lobbying groups such as Planned Parenthood had been given ample opportunity to investigate and speak to it.

Senator Crane said his proposal would protect taxpayers who find abortion immoral while also saving the state money.

“It’s going to save the taxpayers’ money and let people who choose to have abortions pay for it themselves,” said Crane, who argued that the amendment would not interfere with women’s reproductive rights.

His initial proposal did not include any exceptions for abortions sought for any reason. After some discussion, the Senate added an exception to protect the pregnant woman’s life.

Senator Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta, GA) spoke of Todd Akin, who lost a U.S. Senate election last year in Missouri when he justified his opposition to abortion rights by claiming that a woman could not become pregnant by rape. Crane, she told Republican senators, “has not done you a favor by bringing this amendment.” However, Mike Crane’s bill has nothing to do with the criminal prosecution of rape.

nathan-deal
Governor Nathan Deal. Source: dealforgovernor.com

The Republican Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, told pro-life lobbyists that he supports the amendment. Last year, Governor Deal signed a pro-life “fetal pain” bill into law.

It was not until early last year that a few of us who were serving with Senator Crane in the Georgia State Senate discovered how Georgia and most states are subsidizing abortion through the state government’s state health care plan for employees. During the previous three years, we learned that Georgia had paid an average of over a quarter of a million dollars per year to perform hundreds of abortions. According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, in 2009 alone, the state performed 549 abortions and paid out $343,728. In the last three years, over 1,350 abortions have been paid for with state tax dollars through this program.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that no “State [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and yet many states contribute to deprive life by subsidizing abortion services in various ways such as this. The time to stop is long overdue. Not only will this bill save hundreds of thousands of dollars for Georgia taxpayers, but it will also take a significant step towards bringing the state in line with the 14th Amendment.

At the time that we uncovered this data last year, only two other states (Colorado and Kentucky) had gone all the way in addressing this subsidization of abortion. Like Georgia’s proposal, these two states do not make exceptions for restrictions based on rape, incest, and the like. When Mike Crane first introduced his bill, only 16 states had, so far, thought to place any kind of restrictions on state health benefit plans for abortion (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia).

Now many other states including Alabama have been making efforts to change their state health care plans. Momentum has been building around the country to end such state subsidization of abortion murder.

One of our colleagues working with Senator Mike Crane last year was a young home-school graduate, Brant Frost. Two weeks ago, Frost was elected the new chairman of the Coweta County Republican Party in Senator Crane’s hometown.

“There is a great story behind this bill that needs to be told,” said Chairman Frost. “It’s the story of what a few good men can do.”

Georgia passes “fetal pain” bill amidst dramatic outbursts

It was a roller-coaster fight for pro-life activists at the Georgia State Capitol this week.

At its start on Monday, many Republicans in the Georgia legislature seemed ready to play politics with the lives of the unborn. After Speaker David Ralston blocked S.B. 438 (which would have stopped state employee health care plans from paying for abortion) from getting voted out of committee, the Senate amended H.B. 954 (the “fetal pain” bill), effectively gutting that legislation. Both the Georgia Senate and the House of Representatives are controlled by a majority of Republicans.

All the way until the last day of the 40-day session, it appeared that a stalemate between the Senate and the House would prevent any anti-abortion legislation from getting passed into law. But within the last few hours of the session, lawmakers negotiated a compromise. To some it looked like the Republicans took two steps backward and one step forward from the version of the bill approved by Georgia Right to Life (GRTL).

Rep. Doug McKillip

As originally written by its sponsor, State Representative Doug McKillip (R-Athens), the proposal would have reduced  the time women in Georgia may have an abortion by about six weeks. The Senate’s changes forced into the bill an exemption for “medically futile” pregnancies, giving doctors the option to perform an abortion past 20 weeks when a fetus has congenital or chromosomal defects.

Although the House — including Rep. McKillip and House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) — initially balked, on the last day of the session they agreed to move forward with a compromise. Included in the compromise was a definition in the bill describing what “medically futile” means: profound and “irremediable” anomalies that would be “incompatible with sustaining life after birth.”

Other smaller tweaks to the bill’s language were made, and Rep. McKillip agreed to keep another Senate change that would fail to hold doctors accountable in civil suits brought as a result of the legislation.

In essence the loophole remained in the bill but was tightened — women seeking abortions after 20 weeks can still get them under certain circumstances. But Rep. McKillip and the bill’s supporters still declared victory. “We agreed with that to make sure we have an enforceable statute,” Rep. McKillip said.

The AJC reported on the day:

The emotional nature of the debate spilled over into the lobby, as the head of Georgia Right to Life and a representative of a doctor’s organization almost came to blows outside the Senate.

GRTL president Dan Becker and John Walraven, executive director of the Perinatal Infertility Coalition of Georgia, had a heated verbal exchange that became physical Thursday. A state trooper standing nearby spoke to both men and to witnesses, but no charges were filed. The police presence at the state capitol was increased substantially until a small fleet of police vehicles lined both sides of the curb on Mitchell Street.

“We commend the Legislature,” Becker said later, despite not fully endorsing the compromise. “This is one of the toughest pro-life laws in the nation. We will not comment on support, not support, endorse, not endorse. It will save roughly 1,500 lives a year.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democratic put up their routine fuss. They had already stormed out when Senator Crane’s pro-life health care bill passed. They repeated this gesture for the fetal pain bill as it passed their chamber. Sporting yellow police tape, they marched into the hallways and, joined with other H.B. 954 opponents, and shouted, “We will remember!”

“The GOP war on women is alive and well in Georgia,” said Senator Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta). Within the hour, the bill passed the House on a 106-59 vote.

Six states – Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama – have similar “fetal pain” restrictions. A seventh, North Carolina, restricts abortion at 20 weeks.

In Georgia: “pro-life” GOP legislators halt anti-abortion bill – what gives?

After passing through the Georgia Senate, S.B. 438, which would stop the state from paying for abortions in its government-employee insurance plan, has been halted in the House Insurance Committee. But this time, it’s not the Democrats who are fighting this pro-life legislation. It’s the Republicans. While the Democrats would put up a loud fuss in their opposition, these House Republicans seem to prefer to kill the bill secretly and quietly.

For Senator Mike Crane (R-Newnan), the bill represents an ambitious effort for a freshman legislator, but it won the favor of the majority of his GOP colleagues in the Senate. Now that the bill is in the House Insurance Committee, he’s found a wall in the person of Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), who appears to be working behind the scenes to stop the bill from ever getting voted out of committee. Georgia has 40 days in its legislative calendar, and there are only three days remaining. If the bill does not reach the full House for a vote by the 40th day, it will die silently in committee.

Speaker Ralston has intimated to the members of the House Republican Caucus that there would be only one abortion bill considered each legislative session in the Georgia General Assembly, and that bill this year was the fetal pain bill, which passed out of the House several weeks ago. Dan Becker of Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) replied that no abortion bills have been considered for the last several sessions since Ralston became Speaker. So isn’t the Georgia legislature due for some catch-up?

Supporters of the Speaker’s position complain that abortion legislation bogs the House down too long in debate, preventing other things from being addressed. When S.B. 438 came up for a hearing in the Senate, Democrats put up a fuss about it that lasted about 80 minutes.

But is plugging the ears for a chorus of bellyaching from the Democrats for just a little over an hour such a high price to pay to end this subsidization of murder? During the last three years, Georgia has paid an average of over a quarter of a million dollars per year to perform hundreds of abortions. According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, in 2009 alone, the state performed 549 abortions and paid out $343,728. In the last three years, over 1,350 abortions have been paid for with state tax dollars through this program.

Only 16 states in total – so far – have placed any kind of restrictions on state health benefit plans for abortion (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia). Two of these states (Colorado and Kentucky) have gone all the way in addressing this subsidization of abortion. Like Georgia’s proposal, these two states do not make exceptions for restrictions based on rape, “life-endangerment,” incest, or the like. But since hearing of Georgia’s proposal, more states such as Alabama have also taken steps to cut abortion from their state health care plans.

Meanwhile back in Georgia, the media of the state have been doing their best to frame the debate over the bill in favor of the female Democrats who have been opposing it. Both Georgia’s Channel 2 and Channel 11 have done reports on how many of these lady legislators have spoke against the bill, claiming that it impeded women’s reproductive rights. These reports have included interviews with these ladies, but not with the sponsor of the bill, Senator Mike Crane, or any of the bill’s other supporters.

If state Republicans lack the spine to resist being pushed over by these liberals and their media cohorts, then perhaps it is time for them to be replaced by men of stronger conviction. Already, Georgia Right to Life has announced that it will be targeting several Republican state representatives (including possibly the Speaker) for being weak-kneed on pro-life issues. GRTL President Dan Becker is working with others at the Peach Tea Party organization to target a number of races this coming election year and filter out some of the “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only). Conservative talk show host Adam McManus of San Antonio suggests that even calling them “RINOs” is too kind. He prefers to call them “DORCs” (Democrats Opting for Republican Clothing), and perhaps that would be a more suitable acronym.

As troubling as it is when liberals put up a resistance to pro-life legislation, it’s far more outrageous when the opposition comes from Republicans who claim to be “pro-life.” Republicans “just following the orders” of their Speaker. Republicans who can’t stomach some bellyaching from the Democrats. Republicans more concerned about their careers than they are about the lives of the unborn.

If you are a resident of Georgia, you can call Speaker David Ralston and Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) and urge them to allow S.B. 438 to come before the House for a vote!

You can call Rep. Richard Smith at 404-656-6831 and Speaker David Ralston at 404-656-5020.

When calling, it is usually helpful to tell them your name, where you are from, and that you support S.B. 438, and then to ask them to allow the bill to be voted on in the Insurance Committee and before the full House.

Thank you!

October Baby presents a touching tale of self-acceptance and forgiveness

“You saw me before I was born.” -Psalm 139:16

OCTOBER BABY premieres today, March 23, to much anticipation in the pro-life and Christian communities. Inspired by a true story, the movie tells of a young lady on a journey to come to terms with her shocking past and find peace in forgiveness. As the curtain rises, the main character Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before her first lines, she collapses. Countless medical tests all point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to discovering from her father (John Schneider) that she was actually adopted…after a failed abortion attempt.

Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason (Jason Burkey), her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for her unknown future, Hannah sees that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

The film represents the cinematic debut of the talented and award-winning cinematographer team of the Erwin Brothers: Andy and Jon. Having practically cut their teeth on filmmaking from the day they first began helping their father shoot sports events as kids, these two brothers have gone on to make numerous music videos, the Crown Financial Ministries God Provides series, and The Mysterious Islands, as well as direct photography for the hit indie Christian film Courageous (2011). They’ve been itching to make a feature film for years, and their inspiration for the right one finally came when they met an abortion survivor.

Having worked personally with the Erwin brothers on a few film projects over the years, I have always been impressed with their commitment to excellence in cinematography and to telling a story they sincerely believed would be pleasing to the Lord. Their work on this film is no exception. Last October I was honored to attend a special viewing of the film with Jon Erwin in Alabama near where it was shot. He explained to me how making this film, for him, meant the blend of a vision fulfilled and a message that personally touched and changed him.

When the debate over abortion is framed in the public arena, it’s usually framed as men versus women or as babies versus women, as if the pro-life movement, in order to succeed, has to be at the expense of women. But this film is all about women. In it we see how abortion hurts baby girls, female nurses, and of course pregnant ladies.
The main character is very likely to appeal to modern, mainstream teenage girls in several ways. This beautiful character Hannah is someone these girls can identify with and relate to in her emotional struggles and fears, which are heightened due to her tragic past – a tragic past almost forgotten, but still dwelling in her subliminal memory. Although Hannah’s story is fictional, the type of emotional and psychological impact she experiences has been the real-life story of many women – and men. Readers of Steve Jobs’ biography will recall learning how he wrestled with the knowledge that he was a rejected child. But it’s one thing to know that your genetic parents put you up for adoption. It’s still another to find out that they attempted to abort you.
Like many young ladies, Hannah wrestles with her place in the world and the insecurities of self-acceptance. But as she launches on a journey to find her real mother and the answers to lingering questions, she is joined by an array of humorous, quirky, and loyal friends who seek to aid her through the surprising turns of the film. The film is marked by the signature exquisite cinematography of the Erwin brothers, a well-chosen cast (with a few cameos that will make fans laugh), and a number of musical montages.

Jason portrays the ever-loyal, ready-to-be-by-your side friend whom most people hope for when swimming through emotional turmoil, and in this way he seems to serve as something of a Christ figure in the story. Indeed, several elements of the film suggest that it was partially intended as a parable of the Gospel.

While I can’t give the film my complete endorsement due a number of caveats (particularly regarding discretion with the opposite gender; biblical femininity; and family honor, appreciation, and resolution), I do believe that the film does well at accomplishing its primary goal: to present a heartwarming pro-life story showing how abortion damages women – the perpetrator as well as the victim – but also how rays of restorative hope are found in God. It’s a beautifully produced and touching film with a strong pro-life message.

The Dove Foundation: “We urge you to see this movie. It might just change your life.”

Georgia bill blocking state insurance plans from paying for abortions advances

Sixteen states have placed restrictions on state health benefit plans for abortion. Many Georgia state legislators hope to make their state the seventeenth.

State Senator Mike Crane’s S.B. 438 passed the State Senate on the critical Crossover Day for it to reach the House for consideration—but not without a great deal of resistance. Crossover Day, the 30th legislative day, is the last day in the Georgia legislature a bill can be passed out of either the House or Senate and have a chance to be approved by the other house and signed into law. Democrats in the legislature put up a fight to prevent the bill from passing, calling for a vote to table the bill, and for more than 80 minutes they ripped into the legislation, which would end taxpayer funding of abortion for state employees in their health care plans.

“It is both morally and financially irresponsible for our state to force taxpayers to participate in ending the life of an unborn child,” said Senator Crane (R-Newnan).

The vote came on the Eve of International Women’s Day—a day recognized by Google with a special logo on its home page.

“Isn’t it true that this is a sad day for women in Georgia?” asked the female Senator Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) to Senator Crane during the debate, noting how ironic she thought it was that this vote would come so close to this international holiday.

A sad day for women in Georgia? Not sad for the pro-life women in Georgia who don’t want to pay for another woman’s murder. Not a sad day for little girl babies in the womb—the future women of Georgia.

The argument was yet again another twisted effort by the anti-life opposition to turn the issue on its head from one of ending discrimination against the most defenseless to one of discrimination against women. The picture the Democrats painted was of a group of men trying to dominate women by stopping them from controlling their bodies.

“We are not your property!” one black, female Democrat shouted from the podium when she spoke against the bill.

Other Democrats complained that the bill does not allow for exceptions for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Senator Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) objected that it was unfair to his wife and daughters. “As a state employee, we’re going to make this decision for you if you’re raped or the victim of incest,” he said.

And the alternative? To have you pay for the murder of a woman’s baby. As Senator Crane replied, rape and incest are terrible things, but two wrongs do not make a right. “I don’t think we as a body should compound one crime with another,” he said. It is not the baby’s fault that it was conceived via rape or incest, nor is it the taxpayers fault. Each life is a providential gift from God however it comes.

Senator Judson Hill (R-Marietta) said his yes vote in favor of the ban on covering abortions with the state health plan was personal. Two of his sons were born at 24-weeks-old and lived for a day, he said. “I’m standing for life. I’m going to stand for those babies who are 24-weeks-old.”

Senator Crane, the author of the bill, is also no stranger to pregnancy complications. One of his children was born prematurely, and he and his wife lost a son who was stillborn.

The Democrats argued that this bill would cost taxpayers a great deal in helping with complicated pregnancy scenarios. When the final vote was cast in the Senate several of the Democratic female senators locked arms and then stormed out of the chamber to express their anger to the local news networks. The bill passed the Senate 33 to 18, and is now headed over to the State House of Representatives.

Just over the last three years, Georgia has paid over $877,122 to perform at least 1,350 abortions for state employees.

“Now some taxpayers may be perfectly fine with that, the ones that think abortion is just a medical procedure,” Senator Crane said. “But for the majority of Georgians, I don’t find that to be the case.”

Only 16 states in total—so far—have placed any kind of restrictions on state health benefit plans for abortion (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia). Most likely, your legislature has several pro-life legislators who would be eager to introduce a bill like Senator Crane’s. Why not give one of them a call and make the recommendation?

Fetal pain legislation would halt abortion 20 weeks into pregnancy

“I’m just concerned this abortion legislation de-humanizes and objectifies women, turning them into mere incubation machines for babies.”

It was a strange objection to hear from the black, female, Democratic State Representative sitting on the Judicial Non-Civil Committee considering Georgia House Bill 954, legislation that has become known as “the Fetal Pain Bill.” If anyone should be able to appreciate the horror of discrimination against babies in the womb, one would think a member of a “double minority” (black + woman) would, but on this day, two black, female Democrats were tag-teaming to pummel those speaking in favor of the bill with questions and objections.

One of these State Representatives said she’s so upset with pro-life legislation like the Fetal Pain Bill (which in her opinion, “legislates women’s reproductive rights”) that in protest, she introduced a counter bill that would ban Georgia men from having vasectomies. Regardless of whether someone likes the idea of vasectomies, of course, no one believes that a vasectomy kills a human person.  But these kinds of red-herring arguments are a common way that anti-life opponents are now attempting to obscure the child.

Continue reading Fetal pain legislation would halt abortion 20 weeks into pregnancy

How Georgia is putting an end to healthcare benefits for abortion

Sometimes it’s possible for us to become so obsessed with winning the war that we fail to win the battle right in front of us. General Ambrose Burnside of the Union army discovered this at Fredericksburg.  He marched his army across an open field against the highly outnumbered but heavily fortified Southern Army led by General Robert E. Lee. In his haste to get the war over with, General Burnside assumed that with a massive show of force he could easily march into Fredericksburg and overwhelm the Southern army. When the smoke lifted on December 15, 1862, however, the Union army found that they had suffered 12,653 casualties from the battle and ultimately were repulsed in that campaign.

In the war to end abortion, pro-lifers may find that they are also incurring thousands of unnecessary causalities. Winning the war to outlaw abortion across our entire nation has held more of our attention than strategically winning the more achievable battles right in front of us. We would all like a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but until that happens, there are many smaller legal achievements to be made in tightening the reins on abortion in our country.

Perhaps the most overlooked way that many pro-life states could quickly clamp down on abortion right now would be to target the many diverse state-government subsidies of abortion. A freshman state senator in Georgia is doing this by targeting healthcare benefits for abortion to state employees. Senator Mike Crane (R-Newnan) has just introduced a bill to prohibit state health care plans from paying for these services.

During the last three years, Georgia has paid an average of over a quarter of a million dollars per year to perform hundreds of abortions. According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, in 2009 alone, the state performed 549 abortions and paid out $343,728.  In the last three years, over 1,350 abortions have been paid for with state tax dollars through this program.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that no “State [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and yet many states contribute to deprive life by subsidizing abortion services in various ways such as this. The time to stop is long overdue. Not only will this bill save hundreds of thousands of dollars for Georgia taxpayers, but it will also take a significant step towards bringing the state in line with the 14th Amendment..

Only two other states (Colorado and Kentucky) have gone all the way in addressing this subsidization of abortion. Like Georgia’s proposal, these two states do not make exceptions for restrictions based on rape, “life-endangerment,” incest, or the like.

Only 16 states in total—so far—have placed any kind of restrictions on state health benefit plans for abortion (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia).

The great irony is that while President Obama’s national healthcare plan recently raised renewed outcry for a provision requiring pro-life employers to pay for the contraception or abortions of their employees, the state governments have been paying for these same kinds of abortions with your tax dollars for years—and no one has said a word.

Why have more states not thought to do this? Many pro-life supporters who heard about Senator Crane’s bill , introduced last week in the Georgia legislature, were amazed that this action hadn’t been taken many years ago.

The answer is it has just fallen under many activists’ radar. Sometimes, while fighting the war to outlaw abortion, many overlook the countless ways they can end the subsidizing of abortion by our federal and state governments.

Most likely, your legislature has several pro-life legislators who would be eager to introduce a bill like Senator Crane’s. Why not give one of them a call and make the recommendation?