Planned Parenthood Southeast at Center of Women's Health Debates in Ga.

March 14, 2012 — Amid a fight against a Georgia bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation, Planned Parenthood Southeast also is battling opponents' attempts to vilify the organization and misrepresent its mission, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. The organization's increased visibility in the state also reflects the spotlight on Planned Parenthood at the national level, according to the Journal-Constitution.

"I think there's confusion (over what we do) that has certainly been heightened this year," PPSE President and CEO Kay Scott said, adding, "Abortion care is about eight or nine percent of what we do. It's not 80 or 90 percent of what we do."

PPSE, which helped defeat Mississippi's "personhood" ballot measure last year, is now lobbying against a Georgia "fetal pain" bill (HB 954) that would prohibit abortion care after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The state House has approved the measure.

PPSE also works to educate women about the legislative process and how to lobby lawmakers on key legislation, such as a measure that would allow workers to use paid sick days to care for family members. Financially, the organization "would be considered a small player at the Capitol," according to the Journal-Constitution. Nonetheless, it is effective with the Legislature, said Atlanta-based attorney Elizabeth Appley, who has represented PPSE in the past.

"They've helped people get engaged and to raise their voices with legislators on issues that they feel strongly about," Appley said (Poole, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/12).