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Georgia organizations that advocated for Roe v. Wade to be overturned see SCOTUS ruling as only a beginning

Some now want to see the state's 'Heartbeat bill' take effect while others want a complete abortion ban.

ATLANTA — While some of the loudest voices Friday may have been from those who opposed the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, there were also plenty of people who celebrated.

Some of them have been praying for this moment for decades.

"I thought about, for almost 50 years we have been praying for this to be overturned. I was just thrilled, excited, and extremely emotional," said W. Thomas Hammond Jr., the executive director of Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

His organization works with the 3,600 Baptist churches across Georgia. Hammond said he views the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as only a beginning. 

"Our prayer is that Georgia would actually remove this so we could actually live in a state where the most vulnerable and most helpless among us is safe, and that of course would be the child in the womb of its mother," he said. 

Whether an outright abortion ban is proposed and introduced by lawmakers in Georgia or the state's so-called "heartbeat" law takes effect, Hammond said support and services need to be provided for people who may have sought an abortion, but perhaps won't be able to in the near future. 

"I will tell you over the years, Georgia Baptists have raised millions for that," Hammond said while describing the Mission Georgia program.

Through the program, Georgia Baptist Mission Board is able to assist pregnant individuals with finding pre-natal and post-natal care, along with foster care and adoption services for those choosing to go that route. 

"With thirty-six hundred churches and 1.6 million people, we have plenty of families that are standing ready to foster, provide foster care and forever homes."

Martha Zoller is the executive director of the Georgia Life Alliance.

When a draft of the Supreme Court's opinion was leaked weeks ago, she realized Roe v. Wade might soon be overturned, but she remained cautious.

Friday, as the news broke of the court's ruling becoming official she was in the hotel where the National Right to Life Convention was being held in Atlanta.

"It was very much like when you see big things happening. Things started buzzing on people's phones. People started gathering, comparing notes," Zoller described. "Then you heard lots of smiles and cheers and tears too because, for many folks, they've been working on this for 50 years."

Georgia Life Alliance works with and supports anti-abortion politicians and legislation. 

Zoller also agreed services now need to be offered to parents, who may have otherwise sought an abortion, and their children.

On Friday morning she wrote of a post-Roe Georgia: "Women are going to begin receiving calls such as, 'I'm sorry, but we have to cancel your abortion appointment.' We have to be ready to help them and guide them to the resources they need to step into motherhood with confidence, joy, and support."

During an interview with 11Alive, she mentioned how well-run foster care programs in Georgia and in states around the country will be important. 

"Because you want to make sure children are offered for adoption in a window of time where it would be easy for them to be adopted or be reunified in the best case with their families," Zoller said.

Georgia Life Alliance has also worked on legislation with lawmakers for new laws, such as the recently signed Betsy's Law, which allows non-profits to offer free housing resources to people during, pre- and post-partum. 

Zoller said she has seen success with community-based private-public partnerships to offer assistance to those in need and believes more partnerships will be needed.

Beyond assistance, Zoller also wants to see Georgia's controversial abortion law take effect, but unlike Hammond wouldn't go as far as asking for an abortion ban at this time. 

"We want to see the Georgia Heartbeat Bill implemented," Zoller said. "It hasn't been implemented, yet. We worked very hard to have it passed, and I think the smart and prudent way to go forward is, we implement the Heartbeat Bill, and then from that place we say, 'okay, what is needed next?'"

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