Posted: 3:49 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012

Lawmaker accuses pro-life group of threats

ATLANTA —

Before Georgia lawmakers even began to debate a new abortion bill Wednesday, one Republican legislator said an anti-abortion organization threatened her with political retaliation if she didn't vote for it.

The bill would restrict doctors from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy instead of the current 26 weeks. 

State Rep. Sharon Cooper of Marietta stormed into the House Press Room and claimed Georgia Right to Life President Dan Becker threatened to target her in her re-election campaign if she didn't vote for the abortion bill now before the House.

"I've never been threatened, and I was threatened," said Cooper. "He said that this was a vote for them, and if I didn't vote for this, I wasn't pro-life. I think he crossed the line."
 
Cooper, who identifies herself as pro-life, worries that the bill would also allow publication of names of doctors who perform late-term abortions during high-risk or dangerous pregnancies. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Doug McKillip, an Athens Republican, said that is not true and would be illegal.
 
Becker didn't deny speaking to Cooper and informing her of his organization's concerns, and plans to oppose her re-election if she doesn't vote for the bill. Also, he said Georgia Right to Life is targeting seven or eight other Republicans they feel are not living up to their pro-life claim.
 
"I am down here with the unenviable job of delivering messages to various Republicans that this is a political action year, and that their actions have not lived up to their (pro-life) claim. I'm the vehicle to deliver that unfortunate message that various members of the Republican caucus will be targeted this year," Becker said.
 
Becker said his group plans to release the names of Republican lawmakers they no longer support later during the session.
 
The House is scheduled to begin debate on this bill Wednesday afternoon.

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