Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) this week signed a restrictive abortion bill which prohibits doctors from conducting the procedure “if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat.”
In most cases, a heartbeat can be detected during the sixth week of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant).
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Previous state laws allowed abortions until 20 weeks.
The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 2020, provides exceptions in cases where the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother and for rape and incest if a police report was filed.
Critics insist that six weeks isn’t enough time to get an abortion.
“Even for women who find out they’re pregnant before six weeks, it would be nearly impossible to get an abortion before the cutoff,” argues Elisabeth Smith of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“Georgia law requires women to visit a clinic twice before they can get an abortion, and, because Georgia law limits public and private insurance coverage of abortion, women must often save up money to pay for the procedure.”
In March, actress Alyssa Milano urged the TV and film industry to pull out of Georgia if the heartbeat bill was signed into law. Such a move would have a major effect on Georgia’s economy.
Last year, TV and film projects in Georgia brought in $9.5 billion and created thousands of jobs. The filming of Black Panther contributed more than $80 million in economic activity and provided $26.5 million in wages to more than 3,000 employees.
Groups planning to sue Georgia include The Center for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood.
Governor Kemp says that while he knows the law will be challenged in the courts, he signed it because it’s the right thing to do. “This is about protecting life, and we’re willing to fight for it,” he told reporters.
The heartbeat bill, introduced by state Rep. Ed Setzler (R), follows similar laws signed in Mississippi in March and Ohio in April. Unfortunately, no state has been successful in putting such a restrictive bill into lasting practice.
Author’s Note: What we are seeing here is increased confidence from GOP leaders throughout the country on an issue that was impossible to push forward during the Obama years (when even churches were forced to pay for abortions).
Editor’s Note: This is a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade, and will very likely end up in the Supreme Court. This issue will certainly be major for the 2020 elections.