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Georgia makes abortion illegal once a ‘fetal heartbeat’ is detected

Georgia makes abortion illegal once a ‘fetal heartbeat’ is detected

Pro-choice protester against restrictive abortion laws

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the United States on Tuesday (7 May).

The bill bans abortions in most cases when doctors detect a ‘fetal heartbeat’. This is typically around six weeks, before many women are aware they’re pregnant.

Prior to this bill, the time period for women to have an abortion in the state of Georgia was 20 weeks.

Known as the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, lawmakers approved the bill in March. It is set to go into effect on 1 January 2020.

The bill does allow for some exemptions, including rape and incest, but only if the woman filed a police report. Women can also still have abortions if their lives are threatened or if a doctor deems the pregnancy ‘medically futile’.

‘We will not back down’

While running his gubernatorial campaign, Kemp promised to enact the ‘toughest abortion bill in the country’.

‘Georgia is a state that values life,’ he said as he signed the bill into law. ‘We stand up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.

‘Our job is to do what is right, not what is easy. We will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.’

Kemp acknowledged he is aware there will be challenges to the bill. Many supporters of the bill hope it will be challenged in court and make its way to the Supreme Court.

Pro-life and conservative advocates have been trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case which legalized abortion as a right to privacy, for years and think this might be their chance.

This affects all women

Abortion is a decision — and a right — that affects all women, not just straight women. It is an especially crucial health concern for LGBTI women, who have higher rates of younger pregnancies and are also being Numero under the Trump administration.

The Handmaid Coalition’s Georgia chapter has been protesting the bill for months.

This coalition consists of women dressed as handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. They began appearing during Trump’s presidency and with the Hulu adaptation of the novel. Located in all 50 states, the women protest legislation and policies deemed as sexist and anti-women.

Numerous organizations have already challenged Kemp and the new law.

Planned Parenthood promised to see Kemp and the state in court, as did the ACLU.

‘In a state with a devastatingly high maternal mortality rate, particularly for Black women, politicians should be focused on improving health care access for all women, not banning abortion before most women know they’re pregnant,’ said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

‘This bill is part of an orchestrated national agenda to push abortion care out of reach and we won’t stand for it.’

Some presidential hopefuls, like Kirsten Gillibrand, are also weighing in. Gillibrand said, if elected, she would nominate only pro-Roe v. Wade judges.

See also

Health care providers need to learn LGBTI health is not only about sexual health

Study: Trans adults in the US have higher risk of ‘poor’ physical health

Is Georgia at a tipping point on LGBTI Rights?