Women's reproductive rights in jeopardy? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Women's reproductive rights in jeopardy?

Sunday in Atlanta, hundreds were rallying for rights. They're rallying for the rights of women to have access to health care services, freedom from violence and a hot button topic, abortion.

"Back in 1973 when they made a law called Roe vs. Wade, it said that a woman had the right to do whatever she wanted to," says local Alpha Center director Debbie Beasley. Marchers are rallying at the state capital to challenge two recently passed legislatures that challenge those rights. One requires women to wait atleast a full day before getting an abortion.

"That 24 hour period to me is very important because it gives them that chance to find out exactly what's going to happen and what needs to be done," says Beasley.

Beasley counsels women on a daily basis and she helps them understand the many choices and consequences. "What it breaks down to is when do you believe conception begins, when do you think a child begins and most of the christian community believes that life begins at conception," says Beasley.

Bishop Vincent Powell has that belief but he's not sure if it's an issue of legislation. "I think it's a critical issue, I really do," says Powell. He questions whether the church or the law has the right to restrict reproductive rights.

"If we start this and say yes we have a right to tell a woman what to do with her body, says Powell, what other doors are going to be open?" So he's split down the middle but he is sure that his door is always open for women trying to make a tough decision.

"A young girl under 18 years old, she needs to talk to her parents or some parental figure that can help her through that particular time," says Powell. But whether or not new legislative bills infringe on women's rights, many say the focus should be on the rights of the child.

"I believe that it's very important that we get back to the point where we value life that we value our children," says Beasley. Values that begin with a choice, something that marchers feel are being taken away.

The bill hasn't been signed into law yet but the Governor may sign it within the next few weeks. Currently there are no laws restricting abortion in the state of Georgia. The legislation would also require a parent or guardian to be notified of a minor's intent to have an abortion.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com


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