Finish Line - Pro-Life Legislative Update March 31, 2016

Julie shows fetal models at our FOURTH Pillars of Personhood event at the Capitol, Esther patrols the Capitol halls on Day 40,
and GRTL joins 8 other groups responding to Governor Deal's veto of religious liberty protection
Finish Line (Legislative Days 35-40)
This last Thursday night was the official end of our 40 day legislative session. If you know Johnny and me, you know we scrutinize the facts and don't typically embellish politics. So when we tell you that 2016 was a YUGE win for the pro-life movement in Georgia, you know we're genuinely pleased. 
 
We had the distinct pleasure of working alongside incredible activists and legislators alike. The committee process was kind to us this session, facilitating the smooth passage of much of our legislation in the strongest form possible. We had legislators who have opposed us in previous sessions not only vote for our legislation this year, but even carry our legislation. This is a testimony to our legislative strategy: no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. 
 
The GRTL-sponsored measures that passed this year include protections for women and children from rapists, ensuring safeguards against assisted suicide and euthanasia, expanded protections for victims of sex trafficking, and comprehensive religious liberty protection. In addition, we ensured the defeat of a bill that would insulate and protect the practice of selling aborted baby parts. View our full 2016 Legislative Report for a rundown of each bill.
 
Thanks to God's favor, your prayers, your support, and our strong allies at the Capitol, GRTL legislation received 12 votes in subcommittee, full committee, and floor votes. 11 votes were unanimously in favor. Our priority legislation was approved on a margin of 483-1 in floor votes. 
 
Your values were well represented and we did not compromise on any measure we pursued. All of our priority legislation is still pending signature from Governor Nathan Deal. 
 
As you have likely heard, on Monday, March 28, Governor Deal vetoed HB 757, the Free Exercise Protection Act, which GRTL supported. We are very disappointed to be dealt such a raw deal on religious freedom after three years of hard work to pass a bill that both protects the religious community and ensures no discrimination is allowed under law.
 
We participated in a press conference on Tuesday morning to call for legislative action in response to the Governor's veto and pledge our support in the continued pursuit of comprehensive religious liberty protection in Georgia. 
 
A new statewide poll was also unveiled which found that 66% of Georgia voters supported HB 757 in the version vetoed by Governor Deal, including 59% of Democrats and a majority of all Congressional districts.
 
Georgians cannot work to protect innocent human life if we are denied the liberty to defend that innocent human life by the state. Without free exercise of religious convictions in Georgia, pro-life organizations and pregnancy centers are vulnerable to legal attack and persecution from pro-abortion activists who hate Georgia's Christian pro-life values. As the only Georgia pro-life organization advocating for religious liberties, Georgia Right to Life will continue to lead the fight for comprehensive religious freedom in Georgia today, and every day, until the life and religious liberties of all human persons are protected.
 
It's been a long, productive, successful, exciting legislative session. It's been a sincere pleasure to serve as your lobbyists this year. Johnny and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and support that helped make this session a huge win.
 
That's all for this session. If you have any questions or would like us to speak to your GRTL chapter, county GOP, church, rotary club, or civic group, email Joshua at joshuaedmonds@grtl.org or Johnny at johnnycrist@grtl.org!
 
Joshua & Johnny