UPDATE (11:30a.m.): Senate bill would close Georgia abortion clinics

Photo by Mallory Hyland

Photo by Mallory Hyland

ATLANTA - All Georgia abortion clinics could be shut down under a changed bill that passed a legislative committee yesterday.

UPDATE: Senate Bill 209 was tabled by the Rules Committee after more than two days of often heated debate. Tabling it at this point in the session makes it extremely unlikely it would reach the full Senate this year.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, needs more work, Rules Chairman Don Balfour, R-Snellville, said. Loudermilk said afterward that he was disappointed but agreed that more work is necessary.

Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, introduced Senate Bill 209 March 3, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks. But as the Senate Rules Committee met to consider it this afternoon a new version was handed out that says abortions could be performed only in hospitals licensed to do so.

According to providers, nearly all abortions take place in Georgia's 14 clinics and doctors offices, and no one knew how many hospitals in Georgia offered abortions on demand.

The Senate Rules Committee also approved a second bill that puts doctors who perform abortions in greater jeopardy of being sued.