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Georgia 20-Week Ban Debate May Be Contributing To Local Clinic Violence

Robin Marty

The contentious fight over a 20 week abortion ban may be heading out of the legislature and into the streets.

The battle in Georgia’s state capitol over a bill that would drastically reduce access to abortion — banning the procedure after 20 weeks for any reason but life of the mother — has already become one of the most vitriolic debates to hit the legislature.  Now, that vitriol appears to be spilling out into the streets as well.

HB 954, the bill that would ban abortion even in cases where the fetus was non-viable, drew sharp lines between members of the House of Representatives, and not even just along party lines. One lawmaker, the bill’s sponsor, grew so incensed over the debate that he accused expert witnesses testifying against the bill of being liars because he didn’t agree with their judgement.  And numerous Republican legislators who either voted against or refused to vote at all earned themselves a RINO (Republican In Name Only) distinction and the threat of primary opponents by the state’s Tea Party.

But some are concerned that the extreme emotions driving the bill may be leading to more than just harsh words and election challengers. Reports of break-ins and stolen computer equipment in Atlanta area clinics, at first believed to be unrelated to the current debate, are now being examined as potential attempts to intimidate doctors who perform abortions, according to one area Patch site.

“They’re treating us like terrorists,” said Richard Zane, whose Atlanta Women’s Health Center in Sandy Springs was burglarized in March.

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More recently, the Georgia OB/Gyn office in Suwanee was broken into. In both crimes, laptops containing member information were stolen.

Zane added that he feels the break-ins were designed to “intimidate physicians from dispensing or arguing about this bill…”

The bill has now passed the state senate as well, and will head to the governor’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law.

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