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Georgia RTL

Dan Becker

Tier 2 - Personhood Whenever


Dan Becker and GRTL thankfully promote the right to life of every unborn person but they undermine that principle by supporting regulations that effectively end with, "and then you can kill the baby."


  • Promotes Personhood: As president of Georgia Right To Life since January 20081, Dan Becker and GRTL have advocated for enforcement of the God-given right to life and personhood of the unborn child; they operate the outstanding website, Personhood.net; support state and federal Human Life Amendments and Personhood legislation2; and Dan has written an important book Personhood.
  • Undermines Personhood By Promoting Regulations: Georgia RTL's practices are at odds with their principles.
    - In principle, Becker's organization thankfully opposes the regulation of abortion (as at AmericanRTL.org/regs) because the efforts to legislate when, where, and how a baby can be killed are immoral3; they do not "significantly reduce abortions" as claimed4; they inevitably backfire; easily result in the killing of even more children and in keeping abortion legal.5
    - In practice, Georgia RTL actually promotes child-killing regulations. GRTL does this by denying that regulations are regulations. This has sadly opened up yet another division in the pro-life battle.
  • GRTL Wants to Ban "Discriminatory" Abortions: Simple principles of right and wrong help to identify plenty of examples of Good and Bad Incrementalism. Georgia's 2011 SB 529, a typical counterproductive regulation, is supported by Dan Becker and GRTL even though it:
    - contains the words, "relating to when abortion is legal"
    - creates an anti-discrimination abortion regulation for clinics to comply with
    - incorporates and thereby reaffirms existing "exceptions"
    - incorporates and reaffirms existing regulations (notification, informed consent, PBA, etc.)
    - has the official description of providing "prohibitions on the circumstances under which an abortion may be performed."
    This bill unequivocally indicates that if the abortion is not racially motivated, "then you can kill the baby." As it passed the state senate with GRTL's support, the text of SB 529 states:

Section 1. … "(b) A person commits the offense of criminal abortion when that person performs an abortion:

(2) With the intent to prevent an unborn child from being born based upon the race...

(4) In violation of any of the following: Code Section 15-11-112 [parental notification], subsection (b) or (c) of Code Section 16-12-141 [late term OK if in hospital, for health], Code Section 31-9A-3 [informed consent, ultrasound available], or Code Section 31-9A-5 [medically necessary]. ...

(d) …any physician performing an abortion who personally confirms by direct inquiry that such abortion is not being sought with the intent to prevent an unborn child from being born based upon unlawful coercion or the race… of the unborn child… shall not be criminally responsible...

Section 2. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 16-12-141, relating to when abortion is legal and the filing of certificate of abortion by performing physician, as follows:

"(a) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit an abortion performed by a physician duly licensed to practice medicine and surgery pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43, based upon his or her best clinical judgment that an abortion is necessary, except that subsection (b) of Code Section 16-12-140 [this Act] is a prohibition on the circumstances under which an abortion may be performed which shall apply to both duly licensed physicians and laypersons, and Code Section 16-12-144 [PBA] is a prohibition of a particular abortion method…

  • GRTL Would Create Obviously Unprotected Classes of Children: As unfortunately advocated in his otherwise wonderful Personhood book, GRTL president Becker denies that regulations are regulations by using the concept of protecting various "classes" of human beings (such as black children being racially targeted). However, a law protecting a "class" of human beings is inherently immoral if it creates an "obviously unprotected class." Thus just as a German law against aborting Aryan babies would be immoral, a Georgia law against aborting babies for racial reasons creates an obviously unprotected class of babies who are not aborted because they are black (or white or mixed) but merely because they are unwanted.
  • The Esther Analogy: In a 2011 conference call with a Georgia RTL attorney, legislator, and the group's president, American Right To Life discussed a principle from the book of Esther which appears online in the Sarah Palin profile:

Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "… If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that [the Jews] be destroyed..." Esther 3:8-9

And so the unjust "law" was issued. Esther did not take the position advocated by some pro-lifers today (not GRTL, but others) that because a law is admittedly unjust and illegitimate, it therefore does not need to be "repealed," but just ignored. If she had taken that approach, the Jews likely would have been annihilated and Esther would not be in the Bible. Rather, after Haman was exposed and punished for his treachery, Esther attempted to reverse the murderous "law," and said to the king:

"If it pleases the king… let it be written to revoke the letters devised… to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king's provinces." ... Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew... You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews... and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded... the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to... protect their lives... Esther 8:5, 7-11

With her uncle Mordecai, as affirmed in Scripture, the Jews succeeded in countermanding the unjust law. The legislation (if you will) that Mordecai wrote did not protect "all people." It only asserted the right of self defense for the Jews. But in the historical context, his law did not create an "obviously unprotected class" of human beings, because the threat was specifically against the Jews. Likewise, historically, if surgical abortion is the threat, an abortion ban that does not take into consideration cloning and IVF, does not create an obviously unprotected class of human beings. Thus an abortion ban that does not explicitly exempt living children outside of their mothers wombs (for example), is not a compromised regulation. However neither abortion bans, nor any type of principled incrementalism, will ultimately protect America's children, but the dagger in the heart of the wickedness that is destroying America is personhood and its enforcement of the God-given right to life.

  • Still Regulating: Over the last decades Georgia Right To Life has advocated regulating abortion through parental consent and notification, through informed consent laws, and the Partial Birth Abortion (PBA) "ban."6 Today, by embedding existing child-killing regulations and exceptions into new laws, and by adding new regulations (as with SB 529 above), for all their desire to save children, Georgia RTL is still undermining the public's and the politicians' and the courts' understanding of the right to life.

"The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain
definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way,
all similar actions that lie outside those limits."
-Leo Tolstoy
widely attributed

Summary:

Dan Becker and Georgia Right To Life are leaders in the personhood movement. Sadly though, they have created yet another division in the pro-life battle by now claiming that regulations are not regulations. Until this diversion is set aside, its double-mindedness will increase the number of fake pro-life legislators that GRTL will help to put in office, and GRTL will be delay its own ultimate victory for the innocent.

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