Many people may assume that Georgia Right to Life is only vocal about issues surrounding abortion.
It's true that the Norcross-based organization was founded in 1971, a few years before Roe v. Wade, in response to educate the public about legalized abortion in the state.
But today, GRTL, which is part of National Right to Life, aims to legally protect human life at all levels across the entire state.
"A lot of people aren’t aware of all the biotech issues, and some of the euthanasia, assisted suicide, the end-of-life issues are getting to be very important, as well," said GRTL spokeswoman Suzanne Ward, .
Eighty percent of GRTL, which has various chapters around Georgia, is about informing the public, how they can help and how they can make a difference for life issues, according to Ward.
One way GRTL educates is through speaking engagements such as its Personhood Training, a pro-life and pro-human movement where speakers will organize talks at places such as schools, life groups, churches and college campuses.
"It’s just kind of a neat age to draw people in," said Ward about talking at colleges. "They have questions, they’re naturally curious, and they’re still malleable. They’re still forming their opinions, and it’s nice to engage them in conversation about abortion, about life issues, and get a feel about where they stand and maybe impact them."
While GRTL talks about all life issues, abortion is still the organization's most talked-about topic since it's a huge subject in society. It's especially vital in the other 20 percent of what GRTL does: political action and legislation.
Ward has been a major part of the abortion and the legislature on GRTL's behalf, even before she was officially on staff a year and a half ago. In 2005, GRTL asked her for her expertise on the Women's Right to Know Act since she's worked as a national trainer in various pregnancy centers for years. She still works part-time as a medical manager at the Johns Creek Pregnancy Center.
Under the legislation, which was passed, women seeking abortions would be offered the option of having an ultrasound done. Ward said the ultrasound is vital because it informs the woman about pregnancy complications that may arise.
"They may think that they want or need an abortion, when in reality, the baby may be dead or it may be an ectopic type of scenario," said Ward, adding that ectopic pregnancies can lead to death in mothers. "It’s just an important tool to educate them on the reality of what’s happening to them, and some of the medical pieces are critical."
She also assisted this year in testifying for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was passed in April and made abortion illegal after 20 weeks. It's based on the fact that, after the 20-week mark, fetuses are able to feel pain, Ward said.
GRTL's most recent political push has been for the , which reads:
"Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?"
Registered Republican voters in the state of Georgia will be able to vote on the issue July 31 on the primary ballot.
Another way the organization gets the public involved in their issues is through a silent memorial walk held for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The event, which is held Jan. 22 every year to remember the court decision, takes place on the steps of the Atlanta capitol where it has a keynote speaker, various talks from legislators, music and a one-mile walk for the aborted children.
Georgia Right to Life is located at 783 Holcomb Bridge Rd. in Norcross. For more information on the organization, visit grtl.org or contact Suzanne Ward at email@example.com.