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Local Elected Officials, Faith and Community Leaders Respond to Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ Rejection of Resolution to Fund Abortion Care


Wednesday, October 4, 2023



Lizzy Ganssle,, 203-623-2271


Local Elected Officials, Faith and Community Leaders Respond to Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ Rejection of Resolution to Fund Abortion Care

Atlanta, Georgia – On October 4, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners rejected a resolution introduced by Commissioner Dana Barrett to allocate $300,000 to Access Reproductive Care-Southeast (ARC-Southeast), Georgia's only abortion fund. The City of Atlanta previously passed similar legislation introduced by Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari. Last week, Commissioner Ted Terry introduced a similar resolution to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, which has yet to be voted on. Councilmember Bakhtiari, Commissioner Terry and local faith and community leaders responded to Fulton County’s decision. 


Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari, Atlanta City Council, District 5

“Today’s refusal by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to support access to reproductive health services was nothing short of an abdication of leadership. With healthcare for women and birthing people under constant assault, we cannot remain idle as elected leaders within our communities and acquiesce to the will of the General Assembly or Congress for action. The need is critical; the urgency is now, and choosing to pretend otherwise is far from a profile in courage.


I thank Commissioners Dana Barrett, Natalie Hall and Marvin Arrington, Jr. for their leadership on this topic and for the conviction of their votes to support access for all.”


Commissioner Ted Terry, DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, District 6

“Women’s freedom to control what happens to their own bodies impacts the roles they are able to play in society, whether as a member of the family, the workforce or government. As leaders, we must build power in communities, especially those of color, to end stigma and restore dignity and justice by pledging allegiance to ensure full access to care and support around reproductive health decisions without biases or barriers.” 


Desirrae Thomas, Local Campaign Manager, Amplify Georgia Collaborative

“Since 2005, the Georgia state legislature has passed at least 13 medically unnecessary abortion bans and restrictions, including HB 481, Georgia’s six week ban. The majority of Georgians now have to travel out of state for care. Before this ban, our state was already leading the country in maternal death, a rate three times higher for Black women. At the same time that our legislature is trying to force people to give birth, we are experiencing alarming health care shortages. Local legislators have the power to fill gaps created by our state government, helping people get care that they would otherwise be denied. Local governments can fund abortion, and local governments should fund abortion. Despite the Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ decision, Amplify Georgia Collaborative, along with community partners like Access Reproductive Care-Southeast and Faith in Public Life Action, will continue advocating for expanded access to abortion care and reproductive health services. Access to essential health care should not be determined by people’s income, geographic location, gender, age or immigration status.”


Allison Coffman, Executive Director, Amplify Georgia Collaborative

“Although we are frustrated that a few Fulton County Commissioners decided to ignore the needs of their constituents by voting against abortion funding, we know that the fight is far from over. We reject the arguments put forth in today’s meeting that Fulton County must choose between funding children or the elderly or pregnant people. There is more than enough money to go around. We know this because as we advocate for $300,000 for abortion access, the Commission is discussing spending millions more dollars on a failing jail. We look forward to reintroducing this funding resolution while championing the other worthy initiatives to support Atlanta's most vulnerable populations.”


Kenny Callaway, Healthline Associate, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

“All people seeking abortion, regardless of their situation, are striving to live their best life. This funding would have allowed ARC-Southeast to continue helping many Georgians to live their best lives. Hopefully, this resolution was just the very first step among many towards making reproductive justice a reality in Fulton County and the South.”


Min. Tiffanie Mackey, Minister, Sixth Episcopal District, AME Church

“Our faith teaches us that everyone, regardless of their race, gender or socioeconomic status, should have the ability to live a life of dignity and make decisions about their own body, family and future. However, faith has been weaponized to restrict access to abortion care in Georgia and throughout the nation; we see the impact of this every day in the South. As faith leaders, it is our responsibility to be part of the solution. This is the prophetic work we are all being called to do in this moment. I am disappointed in the Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ decision today, but I remain hopeful that other cities and counties will follow the lead of the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County to take action. We will send a resounding message to our officials that they must fund abortion care. Together, we can still help further equity and access to reproductive health care for all individuals, regardless of their status or background. We must continue our collective work to build a Georgia that upholds the goal of creating safe, sustainable and healthy communities.”


Rev. Leo Seyij Allen, Organizing Manager, Faith in Public Life Action 

“As a person of faith, I believe that every person has inherent dignity and deserves to have access to the resources they need to thrive. This includes the freedom to make their own ethical, moral and faith-informed decisions about their reproductive health care. Our elected officials, including County Commissioners, have the power to ensure that people have more equitable access to the reproductive health care and abortion care they need by allocating funding to ARC-Southeast. Despite the disappointing decision today from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to reject this resolution, people of faith will continue to work without ceasing to expand access to reproductive care. Our congregations and faith communities will make every effort to create a safe, healthy, and sustainable Georgia where everyone has what they need to thrive.” 



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