Governmental policy and legislation report No.4

Restrictions on chemical abortions. SB 456 (formerly identified as SB 315) imposes restrictions on the use of abortion-inducing drugs which may now be administered without professional medical supervision. The bill would require that a qualified physician examine the pregnant woman in person. No abortion pills or chemical could be delivered by courier, delivery or mail service. No abortion inducing drugs could be provided in school facilities, including institutions of higher learning. The Georgia Catholic Conference supports the bill. The bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will likely be voted on in the Senate during the week of February 21. We believe that there are sufficient votes to adopt the bill in the Senate, but it is unsure if there is sufficient support in the House of Representatives.

School choice. HB 517 proposes to make changes related to audits and increases in the individual, family and corporate limits for contributions in the statute governing student scholarship organizations (SSO’s), such as G.R.A.C.E Scholars. The bill passed both houses in 2021 but differences were not agreed upon so the bill remains eligible for further amendments in the current session. The status has not gotten public notoriety but there may be additions before final passage. The Conference supports this bill, particularly with additions that may benefit G.R.A.C.E.

Death penalty. HB 495 proposes a repeal of the death penalty in Georgia. There is currently little support for this repeal. Nonetheless, particularly with the help of Maggie Rousseau, archdiocesan director of Disabilities Ministries, we are supporting the introduction of legislation to prohibit or restrict imposition of the death penalty against persons with intellectual disabilities proven by a preponderance of the evidence. We anticipate the bill will be introduced during the week of February 21.

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