Georgia Rep. Doug Collins isn’t giving up on a bill that outlaws abortions in Georgia 20 weeks after conception.
The bill seemed to die earlier this week, when House Speaker David Ralston said that the House wasn’t going to adopt the version the Senate passed Monday.
Today is the last day of the state’s legislative session, and there is little time for the two chambers to reconcile their versions.
Collins, who co-sponsored it, is taking the anything-can-happen approach, and says he’s hopeful there will be resolution by the end of today. In fact, Collins said it could “very easily” come back from the dead.
“No bill — and especially this one — is dead until the sine die gavel hits,” Collins said.
Collins, seeking Georgia’s newest congressional seat, will take his last vote today as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.
The original proposal from Republican Rep. Doug McKillip and co-signed by Collins would have banned most abortions five months into a pregnancy. That bill made exceptions for when a pregnancy threatened the mother’s life or physical health. The version of the abortion ban the Senate passed Monday included an exception for fetuses diagnosed with a fatal defect. Collins, like Ralston, isn’t pleased with the changes.
“The totality of the amendments made ... in essence, gutted the bill,” Collins said.
If the Senate reconsiders the bill today, Collins said it would be possible the two chambers could convene a conference committee to hash out other differences.
Passage, he said, “depends a lot on where the Senate is with this and what they want to do.”
Ralston voiced his frustration Tuesday over the Senate’s refusal to negotiate, telling reporters that the Senate is dodging a difficult issue.
“Now that we’re at the point where we can really pass a significant bill that can save the lives of many unborn children, then they’ve decided to tuck and run,” Ralston said.
Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ocklochnee, who supported changing the bill and voted for its passage a day earlier, distanced himself from the debate on Tuesday.
“It’s in the hands of the House,” he said. “They need to approve what we sent them.”
Sen. Renee Unterman, a Republican from Buford who carried the bill in the Senate, voted against the amendment but in favor of the bill. She said the legislature is now in “a game of chess,” and, she hinted at a chance the bill could be revived.
“Nothing is dead until the last gavel,” Unterman said, adding that she prefers the original House version with no amendments. “There are many bills I’ve had to compromise on. If you can’t have your cake, you eat part of the cake.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.