Our History

Georgia Right to Life, which was originally titled the Georgia Right to Life Committee, was established in 1970. The organization changed its name to Georgia Right to Life in the mid-1980s. Its first major action was a letter-writing campaign in the same year. The campaign encouraged Georgians to vote for pro-life candidates. By 1971, the Georgia Right to Life Committee was incorporated and became a member of the National Right to Life Coalition. An office was set up in the garage of the Bowman's home and volunteers helped mail packets of information and a newsletter to thousands of Georgians. Several months later, Georgia Right to Life began establishing local chapters in other parts of the state.

In 1973, Georgia Right to Life launched a pro-life campaign in reaction to the Supreme Court case Roe v Wade which was decided on January 22, 1973. The Bowmans appeared on television and radio programs as speakers on abortion and other pro-life issues. Jay Bowman appeared in the "hot seat" on the WAGA show "Confrontation" and Cheryl Bowman appeared on WSB-TV's "Today in Georgia." The group gained national recognition when an article about Georgia Right to Life was printed in a 1975 issue of "Newsweek". The organization eventually relocated its office to Decatur, Georgia.

The Bowmans left Georgia Right to Life in the late 1970s. Mary Boyert joined GRTL's executive committee in 1978. She served as the Education Director from 1979-1980. She was elected president of the organization in 1980. She served for three consecutive terms (1980–1986). After her third and final term, Ms. Boyert was appointed to the Executive Director position in late 1986. She held that post until being appointed the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Director in 2000. Ms. Boyert established the Georgia Right to Life Executive Committee, the Georgia Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, and the Georgia Right to Life Political Action Committee. Under Ms. Boyert's presidency, local chapters were founded and the organization's bimonthly newsletter. By the 1990s, 225,000 pro-life households identified with the organization.

In 2000, president-elect Caryl Swift and the State Board of Directors voted to reverse the organization's position on politicians; views on abortion in regard to rape and incest. Previously to 1999, Georgia Right to Life did not disqualify elected public officials from receiving an endorsement from the organization if they held an exception for abortion in favor of rape and incest victims. Caryl Swift and the Executive Committee reversed this position. All politicians who hold an abortion exception for rape and incest can no longer qualify for and endorsement from the GRTL Political Action Committee.

In 2000, Caryl Swift was elected to the presidency of Georgia Right to Life. She held the position from 2000-2007. Under Ms. Swift, GRTL began lobbying for Georgia state representatives and proposed legislation. In the last few years, GRTL has publicly endorsed Casey Cagle, Ralph Reed, Paul Broun, and Mac Collins for higher political office. Current United States Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) did not receive an endorsement from Georgia Right to Life in the 2004 midterm elections.

The REACH Benefit Dinner was first established in 2001 by the Swift administration. REACH, which is an acronym for Reaching Hearts, Changing Minds, is an annual fundraiser for Georgia Right to Life's Educational Trust Fund.

Under Ms. Swift's presidency, Georgia Right to Life was able to successfully lobby the General Assembly on HB 197 in 2006. The bill created a 24 hour waiting period for all women seeking an abortion, tightened parental notification regulations, mandated that all women seeking abortion be offered the chance to view an ultrasound, and mandated all women seeking abortion be informed about fetal pain.

By unanimous vote by the State Board, GRTL, Inc. became a faith-based organization in 2007. Georgia Right to Life is a philanthropic Judeo-Christian organization which is legally recognized as a not-for-profit.