Sunday July 14th, 2024 6:45AM
6:33PM ( 12 hours ago ) News Alert

Perdue signs abortion waiting period law

By The Associated Press
<p>Gov. Sonny Perdue gave his approval Tuesday to a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, a measure long pushed by his fellow Republicans but blocked by Democrats while they had control of the Legislature.</p><p>The measure was approved in March by the first Legislature under Republican control in Georgia since Reconstruction.</p><p>Perdue called it "a commonsense approach to a sensitive issue" and said it reflects "the mainstream values that Georgians share." With his signature, it became law and onlookers from the faith community, assembled in his office, applauded.</p><p>The law requires a woman seeking an abortion to make contact in person or on the telephone with the doctor's office at least one day before the procedure.</p><p>The law requires them to be told of any risks to themselves that the abortion might cause, the probable age of their child and any medical risks involved with bringing the child to term.</p><p>The woman also must be told that prenatal medical assistance may be available to her if she decides against an abortion, that the father can be made to provide financial assistance to her and that she has the right to review medical information on subjects which include a discussion of whether the unborn fetus can experience pain.</p><p>Another portion of the bill tightens parental notification requirements for minors. Parents would have to be notified either by telephone or in person before a minor could have an abortion.</p><p>Mary Perdue, the governor's wife, opened the bill signing ceremony by declaring, "This is a wonderful occasion, a wonderful bill for the people of Georgia. And this is and has long been a conviction of Sonny's and mine that all life is valuable and has to be protected."</p><p>Taking control of the microphone, Perdue called it an empowering bill for women. "This legislation affirms that women have the right to be made aware of the risks of abortions as well as the risk of carrying a child to term. Women also have the right to learn about all the other options available to them in the event of an unwanted pregnancy."</p><p>The parental notification provision, he said, will ensure that teens "are not alone in having to make this decision."</p><p>He added, "This bill will ensure that those who care most about them _ their parents _ can provide the loving support and guidance that they need."</p><p>Perdue said he hoped the measure would help reduce the number of abortions in Georgia.</p><p>On the last day for him to sign or veto measures approved during this year's legislative session, Perdue signed _ with reservations _ a bill known as "Joshua's Law" but said he will ask lawmakers next year to make major changes to the measure.</p><p>The law, designed to help fund driver training courses for teens, won't fully take effect until 2007.</p><p>The bill imposes a 5 percent surcharge on traffic fines to help fund driver training courses around the state, and teens would be required to take that course or wait until they are 17 to get a driver's license. They now can be licensed at 16.</p><p>Perdue said he was troubled by some aspects of the financing mechanism and by the fact that students unable to take a course at their local schools would have to pay for private courses or wait a year for their license.</p><p>The author, Sen. Preston Smith, R-Rome, has agreed to work with him on changes next year, Perdue said.</p><p>The governor also signed his wireless privacy initiative Tuesday. The measure requires wireless providers to obtain a customer's consent before including his or her name and phone number in any wireless directory or database.</p><p>___</p><p>Dick Pettys has covered Georgia government and politics since 1970</p>
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