Georgia legislature turns their attention to morality laws - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia legislature turns their attention to morality laws

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Albany- For the first time in Georgia, there are pro-life t.v. ads and a State Senate that is supporting pro-life legislation. The Senate also approved a bill to extend the waiting period for getting a divorce.

Georgia legislators have previously avoided abortion laws until recently.

"Up until now, Georgia has very few abortion laws, anyone can go at any age, 11 years old if you can get pregnant, then you can get an abortion without a parental consent," said Debbie Beasley, director of Alpha Center.

The bill waiting for Governor Sonny Perdue's signature will require women wanting an abortion to wait 24 hours, giving them time to consider the consequences as if they were having a medical procedure.

"Out of those who have had an abortion 98 percent didn't really understand what was going on, what the medical procedure was, how it would affect them, psychologically or emotionally," said Beasley.

The bill would also require a minor to notify her parents either by telephone or in person before an abortion.

"Albany is number one in the state for teen pregnancy, we need some kind of laws that will at least make people look at the overall picture," said Beasley.

The state's abortion rate has steadily increased and was up by six percent in 2001, the same thing is happening with Georgia's divorce rate.

The Senate is adding to the waiting period for an uncontested divorce from 30 to 120 days for couples with no children and 180 days for those with kids. Divorce Attorney Jerry Brimberry says, the extra time won't change couple's minds.

"By the time the people get to an attorney's office they have thought about it, talked about it, prayed about it, agonized over it because it is a big step," said Brimberry.

He claims Albany has become a hotbed for divorces and says that filing for the split isn't as hard as it once was.

"It's so easy to get a divorce, I'm not talking about the short waiting period, it's the grounds for divorce. The most commonly used grounds are that the marriage being irretrievable broken," said Brimberry.

Whether the two measures will cut down on the number of divorces or abortions in Georgia will still need to be proven.

The divorce measure is heading to the House for consideration. Last year, a similar measure passed the Senate but was stalled in a House committee. If you're interested in pregnancy information you can contact the Alpha Center at 431-2343.

posted by jennifer.emert@walb.com