Abortion bill debate prompts queer lawmaker to recall sexual assault

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LGBTQ lawmakers spoke out forcefully against a bill that would effectively outlaw abortion in Georgia, with one being removed from the well of the Georgia House of Representatives by security.

State Rep. Park Cannon got personal in her comments against House Bill 481, legislation that would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which happens at about six weeks.

“I stand here today confident in my decision to terminate my pregnancy when I was sexually assaulted in 2010,” she said. “As a member of the LGBTQ community, there are many people who believe they can ‘rape us straight.’ I do not deserve to live in a world or a state where people believe that I should be ashamed because of my sexual orientation.”

House Speaker David Ralston cut off Cannon (top photo) when she started reading off the names of the lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill in a House Health & Human Services committee meeting.

“The lady is out of order,” Ralston said after banging his gavel several times.

Cannon moved on from the list and continued her arguments against the bill.

“I am disheartened that this body is spending the last moments of the last day deliberating what will be determined an unconstitutional measure,” she said.

State Rep. Renitta Shannon spoke about having an abortion when she was a senior in college. 

“I do not regret my decision, and I am not scarred,” she said.

Shannon said that the legislature, which is mostly male, doesn’t trust women to make decisions about their own bodies.

“The women of Georgia are fully capable of making their own decisions and we do not need your condescending bills that challenge our bodily autonomy,” she said. 

Ralston warned her when she had one minute of time left to speak, and Shannon talked over him and continued with her speech when he said her time was up.

“The lady was given a one-minute warning and now is two minutes over her time,” Ralston said.

He then cut off her mic as security and her fellow Democrats moved her from the well. 

The House passed the bill 93 to 73. It will now go over to the Senate for consideration. 

Park and Shannon are two of the five openly LGBTQ members of the legislature.


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