Georgia’s two Catholic bishops, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, have declared that they do not endorse a Human Life Amendment to the Georgia State Constitution. In their written statement, the bishops asserted:
We do not support the passage of [House Resolution] 536 . . . We have come to the conclusion that the approach taken by HR 536 to amend the state constitution does not provide a realistic opportunity for ending or reducing abortion in Georgia.
A spokeswoman from Archdiocese of Washington stated that, “after consultation with constitutional legal experts, the bishops decided that only an amendment to the federal constitution would succeed in ‘saving lives,'” and “We will be monitoring the legislation during the session to see if there are any changes, but the bishops have done a great deal of legal research and the decision is that this isn’t going to be a bill we’re going to support, although we’re not opposed to it in any way.”
Communications director of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Pat Chivers emphasized that there is not a split between the Catholic Church and the other pro-life organizations. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Bishop J. Kevin Boland asserted that they have “admiration and respect for those who have crafted this legislation,” but they cannot endorse the bill. The church does not feel the amendment would help reduce the number of abortions and so it won’t advocate for it.
For more on state Human Life Amendments see “Amending the Approach” by AUL President Clarke Forsythe and AUL Vice President & Legal Director Denise Burke in National Review Online. An expanded version of the article appears in Defending Life 2008, “What’s the Point of a State Human Life Amendment?” (PDF).