Illustration for article titled Georgia Legislature Outlaws Abortion With ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill. Stacey Abrams Would Have Vetoed This B.S.
Photo: Jessica McGowan (Getty Images)

Following a slew of states with Republican-led legislatures, Georgia lawmakers approved a “heartbeat” abortion bill Friday, making it one the strictest abortion bans in the U.S.


With this bill, abortion is effectively illegal in Georgia once an embryo’s heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks in gestation—usually before many women even know they are pregnant. Heretofore, women in Georgia could seek an abortion during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill makes exceptions in the case of rape and incest—but only when the woman files a report with police—and to save the life of the mother.


Now you know if Stacey Abrams wasn’t hamstrung during an election by voting irregularities that went against her during a race overseen by her opponent, she would have vetoed the shit out of this anti-woman bill, which is significant because it only passed by the tiniest of margins.

As it stands, the anti-choice bill will go to Gov. Brian “The Vote Suppressor” Kemp, who, of course, backs it.

The AP reports that the measure was approved by 92 votes, just one vote more than the majority needed to pass out of the 180-member House. This is part and parcel of a larger effort to effectively outlaw abortion in the U.S. and force the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. It reports:

Georgia joins a string of GOP-controlled states moving to enact strict abortion bans, with the ultimate goal of getting a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The push comes amid rising optimism among conservatives that the restrictions might prevail in the reconfigured high court that includes President Donald Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Republican Rep. Ed Setzler, the bill’s author, said it was a “commonsense” measure that seeks to balance “the difficult circumstances women find themselves in with the basic right to life of a child.”

Democratic Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick called the legislation a “death warrant” for women in Georgia, noting that the state already has one of the nation’s worst maternal mortality rates.


The ACLU of Georgia said it will challenge the law in court if it’s signed by Kemp.

In addition, the Medical Association of Georgia and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians sent letters to lawmakers opposing the legislation.


The legislation also was opposed by the Writers Guild of America, which represents TV and film writers, and several Hollywood celebrities, including Alyssa Milano, who spearheaded the effort, as well as Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Gabrielle Union and Don Cheadle.


This is significant because Georgia had 455 TV or film productions shot in the state in fiscal year 2018, representing $2.7 billion in direct spending, according to the AP.

This “fetal heartbeat” bill is part of an overarching effort to ban abortion across the U.S. with efforts such as defunding Planned Parenthood on the federal level and enacting strict restrictions on abortion at the state level.


GOP lawmakers in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Ohio are pursuing similar legislation, while Republican governors in Mississippi and Kentucky have recently signed heartbeat abortion bans, though they have been struck down by the courts.

If signed and not blocked in court, the Georgia law would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.


Gov. Kemp applauded the legislature in a statement Friday.

“Georgia values life,” Kemp said. “The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state.”


What we are is one step closer to banning abortion in the United States. And the way that Donald Trump is packing the federal courts, it may be a reality sooner than we think.

So to those 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump, you played yourself, you played us, you played your daughters and all women who demand and deserve autonomy over their bodies.


Thanks again. Really.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Deputy Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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