Legislature Passes Ban on Most Abortions in Georgia


20190314_130553(APN) ATLANTA — On today, Friday, March 29, 2019, the Georgia Legislature approved a bill that would criminalize most abortions in Georgia.  


The Georgia House of Representative today passed the misogynist bill, HB 481, sponsored by State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), in a vote of 92 to 78. The bill would make most abortions illegal in Georgia after six weeks when allegedly the embryo’s heartbeat can be heard.  


Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign the bill, seeing as how he campaigned for office on a promise to sign the strictest abortion laws in the country.


Exceptions to the abortion ban would be: if the life of the mother is in danger; if the fetus is not vital; or in the case of rape and incest, however, only if an official police report is filed.    


The 92 men and women who voted to take away women’s right to choose hope Georgia will be the first U.S. state to obtain standing to overturn Roe v. Wade.


Women’s groups, who are outraged by this callous disrespect of women’s health and Constitutional Rights, plan to run pro-choice, progressive people to overturn the GOP majority in the General Assembly in 2020.


Dozens of women, dressed in long, red dresses with white bonnets, representing “Handmaidens,” walked the halls of the State Capitol to oppose HB 418 for weeks.  


They represent women from the dystopian book, “The Handmaiden’s Tale,” which is about a totalitarian, theocratic society ruled by fundamentalist Christian government that imposes an extreme interpretation of the Bible that violently curtails human rights for women.


Also, more than forty celebrities sent a letter to Governor Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston opposing the bill and warned that they will push television and film production companies to pull out of Georgia if this bill passes.


One Republican said that Hollywood should not let the door hit them on the way out of Georgia – to loud laughter from the House floor.


If the movie industry leaves Georgia, it will be a huge financial loss to Georgia workers but Republicans don’t seem to care about workers or women.




Literally, hundreds of women, Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) physicians, pediatricians, nurses, researchers, lawyers, activists, and concerned citizens attended the Senate Committee on Science and Technology to oppose the bill, on March 14, 2019.


“HB 481 is anchored in solid science and law,” Rep. Setzler told the Committee.


But physicians disagreed.  They said the bill had scientific inaccuracies, was filled with falsehoods and misinformation, seeks to redefine medical terminology, and will take the decisionmaking power away from women and doctors and put it in the hands of the government.  


HB 481 gives full legal rights to fertilized eggs in the womb and bans abortions after six weeks, when Setzler believes the heartbeat can be heard.  


“HB 481 proposes banning abortions on the embryonic heartbeat at six weeks.  There is not a formed heart at six weeks or a heartbeat,” Dr. Ann Patterson, a specialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and past president of the OB/GYN society, said, representing over one thousand members who oppose HB 481.


“HB 481 is based on scientific misinformation and imposes moral and religious beliefs on the women of Georgia… and will reinforce racial and social inequalities,” Dr. Shivika Trivedi, an OB/GYN physician, said.  


“HB 481 takes the medical decision out of the hands of patients and doctors, and it is dangerous for lawmakers to presume they are better equipped than a woman and her healthcare provider to judge what is appropriate medical care,” Dr. Melissa Kottke, OB/GYN physician at Emory Hospital, said.  


“This compromises the integrity of both the patient/physical relationship and the medical practice of evidence-based care,” Kottke said.  


Others testified that the discussion should instead turn to healthcare for mothers and children, because more pregnant women die in Georgia than in any other state.  


Georgia is number one in maternal mortality, especially because rural women lack access to healthcare.  Over half of Georgia counties do not have an OB/GYN provider; and 64 counties lack a pediatrician.


HB 481 will only worsen Georgia’s dismal maternal and infant death rates, and making abortion illegal will disproportionately harm poor people, young people, and people of color.


Under this law, abortions would now have to be performed outside the purview of medicine, and that will cause more septic abortions with more women dying, taking Georgia backwards to the days of back alley abortions again.


The bill also states that health records of women receiving abortions shall be available to the district attorney.  


“This bill sends a message to future healthcare providers like us that the government can and will violate the privacy of the exam room,” a medical student from Emory said.


Republicans in the states of Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana plan to put fetal personhood on the ballot; and other anti-choice restrictions are being considered in sixteen states.


Conservatives are hoping to use bills like these to attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, now that Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court of the U.S., making conservative justices the majority on the court.


But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seems confident that Roe will remain intact.


“Eight other states have had similar abortion bans struck down and the same thing will happen here.  When the courts declare this law unconstitutional, it will cost Georgia taxpayers hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in legal fees,” Sean Young, Legal Director, ACLU of Georgia, told the Senate committee.


(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2019)

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