Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013
By WALTER C. JONES
Morris News Service
ATLANTA – The politician who sponsored last year’s controversial fetal-pain law told pro-life advocates rallying at the State Capitol Tuesday on the 40th anniversary of abortion on demand that he has no regrets despite it costing him his legislative seat.
Doug McKillip said his newfound faith in Jesus convinced him to switch from being a Democrat vigorously defending women’s right to abortion on demand to becoming a Republican opponent of it.
The law, described by observers as the toughest in the nation in prohibiting abortions 20 weeks after conception when a fetus supposedly becomes aware of pain, was to have gone into effect at the start of the year. Last month, a Fulton County temporarily halted it while she considers the merits of a constitutional challenge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I wanted to stand before you today and I wanted to tell you that, as of today after that law went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, that we have saved about 70 babies so far,” he said, estimating it would prohibit 1,200 abortions yearly in Georgia if allowed to take effect. “... But I can’t.”
The rally was the first time McKillip has been back to the Capitol since the final day of last year’s session when his bill passed in the waning minutes. He lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary to Rep. Regina Quick, who campaigned against the legislation.
“If the fight means losing a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives or taking a day off from work and standing in the freezing cold for an hour or making a donation to the cause we all believe in – whatever the cost to you – please just always remember: babies are worth the fight,” he told the shivering crowd of 2,000.
Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life, said he was surprised when McKillip called him in the summer of 2011 volunteering to sponsor the bill because his legislative skills stopped previous efforts.
“He said, ‘I wanted to do penance. I want to help. I want to reverse the damage I have done,’” Becker said.
The annual rally ended with a silent march including 40 people holding posters listing the number of abortions carried out nationally in each of the 40 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Roe v. Wade case that abortions are legal for any reason until the fetus becomes viable, which it estimated was about 24 weeks after conception. The case overturned a Texas law, but it was issued the same day as a companion case overturning a Georgia law.
The rally comes on a day when a new poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal shows that 70 percent of Americans surveyed do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, and just 24 percent do.
It also reported that 54 percent think abortion should be legal.
Organizers of the Atlanta rally were not discouraged, vowing to spend another 40 years pushing to change public opinion and the court’s ruling.