State Rep. Sheri Gilligan, a Cumming Republican who voted for the measure, said she wasn't surprised when she received the letter from the group.
“I’ve always hoped to earn their support, but when it came down to it, my conviction was that if I save one heartbeat, it’s worth it,” she said. “Is it a perfect bill? No. But I’ve never seen a perfect bill, yet. And it was as good as it was going to get.”
>> Related: Georgia abortion providers file lawsuit challenging 'heartbeat' law
>> Related: 'Heartbeat' law makes abortion a top issue for Georgia in 2020
>> Related: Georgia corporate powers remain on the sidelines in 'heartbeat' debate
In the letter, Genevieve Wilson, the director of the Georgia Right to Life Political Action Committee, told lawmakers their vote in support of the legislation violated the principles of “personhood” that were agreed upon in 2018 and the group would “discontinue” its endorsement.
Many anti-abortion activists support the concept of “personhood,” which grants rights to a fetus.
“We understand the political approach that we should ‘save as many as possible,’ or that we ‘should get what we can,’ or ‘move the ball down the field,’” Wilson wrote in the letter. “We have said that you can’t have politics as usual when dealing with human lives. Creating classes of innocent human beings that don’t receive equal justice and protection under the law is playing politics with human lives.”
Joshua Edmonds, the executive director of the anti-abortion Georgia Life Alliance, which lobbied lawmakers to vote for the legislation, said his organization plans to support those who supported the bill — which he called the “most pro-life law in Georgia history.”
“Every legislator who voted for the ‘heartbeat bill’ is a pro-life hero, and Governor Brian Kemp is a champion for life,” he said. “We are thankful for their courageous stand, and we, along with the Georgia pro-life community, unapologetically support them and will have their backs in 2020.”
The move from Georgia Right to Life comes after the group encouraged lawmakers shortly before a final House vote to oppose HB 481, saying the legislation "discriminates against classes of innocent human beings" by including the exceptions. Acworth Republican state Rep. Ed Setzler, the bill's sponsor, has said the exceptions were included as a compromise to gain support for the proposal.
In last month’s letter, Wilson asked lawmakers to read a series of Bible verses and reconsider their support for the measure.
“It is our heartfelt desire for there to be a path to restore this relationship,” Wilson wrote. “We value your willingness to serve the citizens of this great state and encourage you to contact us to discuss ways to restore our relationship.”
Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at www.ajc.com/politics.