Georgia Right to Life is one of the most staunchly pro-life organizations in the country. Their political track record has been so successful on the state level that other Right to Life organizations in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Alaska are beginning to follow their example. So why is their effectiveness being challenged by the upstart Georgia Life Alliance and National Right to Life?
In 2000, only 3% of Georgia state legislators identified as pro-life without exception. Something was going terribly wrong in the Peach State for the culture of life, and an energetic vision was needed to set things right. That’s when Georgia Right to Life decided to change their strategy. They adopted a 100% pro-life strategy that refuses to compromise on the inalienable, God-given right to life. They instituted twin educational and political action programs and refused to endorse candidates that held “abortion exceptions” for cases of rape and incest.
Within 8 months, Georgia Right to Life had changed the hearts of the state GOP executive board. That change had a waterfall effect, putting pressure upon key stakeholders and causing the party to return to their pro-life roots and declare legal recognition of personhood for the unborn as the goal of their pro-life legislation.
Fast-forward 14 years. Today, Georgia Right to Life is one of the most successful pro-life organizations in the nation—in fact, Americans United for Life ranked Georgia at #2 in their 2013 state “All-Star” list for achieving significant pro-life legislative victories. There are at least 8 reasons that state pro-life groups should emulate Georgia Right to Life’s effective, no-compromise strategy:
- During the 2012 election cycle, 89% of Georgia Right to Life’s primary candidates (113 candidates in all!) won their nominations, making their PAC one of the most successful in the nation. All of these candidates adopted a pro-personhood, 100% pro-life standard.
- According to GRTL’s candidate surveys from 2012, 68% of GA Senators are pro-life without exception (38 of 56), and 9 out of 9 statewide officials—including the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Secretary of State—support a personhood amendment to the state constitution.
- Although other pro-life groups said it could not be done, Georgia became one of only two states in the nation that has no rape or incest exceptions in any of its state laws!
- In 2012, two-thirds of Georgia’s Republican voters cast ballots in favor of a personhood amendment to the Georgia constitution. That’s approval by a 2-1 margin!
- Just two weeks ago, the Georgia Senate voted 66% and the House voted 61% to pass a robust Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Ban that left no exceptions, including in cases of fetal anomaly, rape, or incest. Pundits predict that the strongly pro-personhood Governor will sign it.
- NARAL gives Georgia an “F” for protecting access to abortion services. (We’ll take that report-card as a sign of victory for life!)
- Americans United for Life has consistently ranked Georgia among the Top Fifteen “Most Protective” states in the nation because of their success at passing no-compromise pro-life legislation.
- Georgia Right to Life-endorsed Representative Paul Broun holds a double-digit lead in the race for U.S. Senate over other GOP candidates who maintain exceptions for rape and incest and believe life does not begin at fertilization. GRTL’s track record shows that 100% pro-life candidates are very electable when given the proper support within a political culture that does not tolerate exceptions.
How did Georgia Right to Life achieve such encouraging results? They adopted a principled position that educated and only endorsed candidates who were 100% pro-life. They removed politicians who did not support the right to life without exception and replaced them with pro-life statesmen. Their principled approach actually achieved the best pragmatic results!
But now, some moderate Republicans and national pro-life groups feel threatened by Georgia Right to Life’s success, including National Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List. These outside groups have intervened in Georgia politics because they believe our movement should give pro-life credentials to candidates who think it should be legal to kill children conceived in rape and incest; and even candidates who do not believe that life begins at fertilization! They believe Georgia Right to Life should endorse legislation which exempts children conceived in rape and incest from the protection of the law.
These groups are concerned that GRTL’s effectiveness at ensuring their Congressional legislators’ opposition to rape and incest exceptions (the goal of the whole pro-life movement) endangers specific NRLC legislative goals (such as passing the Pain Capable Act that includes those exceptions, or the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Bill that includes those exceptions).
Shouldn’t candidates affirm that all human beings should be protected, regardless of the circumstances of their conception, before being touted to voters as truly pro-life? Shouldn’t politicians who have made strong pro-life commitments be held to them?
Pro-life groups should take a lesson from Georgia Right to Life that it does not profit the children to waver or bend in the face of opposition. In fact, the experience of Georgia Right to Life shows that this principled approach is not only our moral obligation, but also the pragmatic path to victory for the culture of life!
Please keep Georgia Right to Life in your prayers and encourage your state right to life group to emulate their successful strategy.
Correction: An earlier version of this column indicated that New Jersey was among the states following the Georgia model. Right to Life in Alaska, not New Jersey, is among the states adopting the Georgia model.