Conservative groups set sights on abortion amendment

February 19, 2008

ATLANTA (AP) -- The House Judiciary committee is holding hearings on an amendment to the state constitution that is being pushed by abortion opponents.

However, the so-called "Human Life Amendment" threatens to divide Georgia's conservative factions.

Anti-abortion advocates have gathered dozens of House sponsors to support the amendment. They enlisted Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to headline a march last month.

The amendment would change the state constitution by granting "personhood" to fetuses. Sponsors say it's a bid to create a legal foundation to challenge the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe versus Wade decision.

The amendment must be supported by two-thirds of the Legislature and a majority of Georgia voters. But before it gets that far, it must survive the skeptical House Judiciary Committee, which began two days of hearings yesterday.

Some lawmakers were wary of wording that could be interpreted to restrict capital punishment and the use of contraceptives. The latest version of the amendment, unveiled yesterday, includes specific exemptions for the death penalty, living wills and the use of birth control. But lawmakers on the committee, which typically handles the brunt of the House's meatiest legislation, still seemed unconvinced.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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