Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House OKs 24-Hour Delay for Abortion; Senate Now Votes on Bill That Strengthens Parental Notification, Information about Risks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House OKs 24-Hour Delay for Abortion; Senate Now Votes on Bill That Strengthens Parental Notification, Information about Risks

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIAN BASINGER, The Times-Union

ATLANTA -- House lawmakers gave overwhelming approval Wednesday to a bill that creates a 24-hour waiting period on abortions and strengthens parental-notification rules for minors seeking to have the controversial procedure.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Sue Burmeister of Augusta, passed in a 139-35 vote after a two-hour debate that was at times emotional and bitterly divisive. The measure now goes to the Senate.

"I am trying to protect the health of the woman and the health of the unborn child if she decides to carry it to term," said Burmeister, explaining her motivation behind the bill. "This bill is not about ending abortion. It is far from that."

The bill now faces consideration in the Republican-led Senate, which approved similar legislation in 2003.

Known as the "Woman's Right to Know Act," the legislation would allow women to have an abortion 24 hours after talking with a physician about the medical risks and alternatives to the procedure.

Physicians performing abortions would have to discuss with their patients -- either in person or by phone -- alternatives such as adoption, as well as other topics including fetal pain, fetal development and the medical risks from having the procedure.

The bill also requires physicians, or their assistants, to tell women about pre-natal health care that may be available, as well as the ability to pursue child support from the father of the fetus.

Burmeister said she considers the legislation necessary because she doubts every abortion provider discusses all the topics the bill requires.

"These people are in a business of making money by performing abortions," Burmeister said on the House floor. "They are running these women through very rapidly in many cases, and I don't think they are giving all the pertinent information. …

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