Georgia “Heartbeat” Abortion Bill

Julia Virnelli, Staff Writer

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A bill in Georgia was passed recently and is now expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. This bill, called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, would prohibit a woman from receiving an abortion after the doctor is able to detect a heartbeat from the fetus, usually only six weeks into the pregnancy. However, at this point, some women don’t even know yet if they are pregnant.

The bill does make exceptions for cases that involve rape or incest, but only if a woman files a police report first. It also includes situations when the pregnancy is “medically futile” or that a “medical emergency exists.”

Bills like this are being proposed in several other Republican-controlled states. Republican governors in Mississippi and Kentucky signed similar laws that involved fetal heartbeat measures. Other states such as Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and Ohio are pushing for bans similar to this as well.

The Supreme Court has already recognized a woman’s right to an abortion until the fetus is able to live outside the womb, around 24 weeks into the pregnancy. This case, known as Roe v. Wade, was decided more than 45 years ago. Many anti-abortion supporters say the clash between this ruling and new proposed laws is part of a plan to land a new case before the Supreme Court. Since the court has grown more conservative in past years, especially with Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment last year, the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned has increased.

However, the bill’s chance of approval is small. Similar legislation has been temporarily blocked or shut down by federal judges who say that they violate Roe v. Wade. If the bill is approved, the American Civil Liberties Union along with the Center for Reproductive Rights have promised to file a lawsuit against the Georgia law the moment it’s signed into law.

On Sunday, Stacey Abrams, the unsuccessful Georgia governor candidate, said that the approval of this bill would be “bad for business.” Along with this, a campaign launched by Alyssa Milano, and signed by more than 100 celebrities, threatened to boycott the state if the bill is not vetoed. “I think Georgia has to realize that while we’re enjoying an extraordinary boom in the film industry, there is nothing that says it has to stay here,” Abrams said. “We have to be a state that is not only friendly to businesses, we have to be friendly to the women who work in businesses.” The entertainment industry employs around 200,000 Georgians and has generated more than $60 billion of economic activity for the state as well. However, Governor Kemp has been very open about his support of the bill, recently tweeting that, ”the legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state.”

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