Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp has signed one of the US’ harshest pieces of legislation against abortion.
The “Fetal Heartbeat Bill,” also known as the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, has since been met with an uproar of protests. It is to be implemented in January 2020.
The bill outlaws any abortions following the detection of a heartbeat. In some cases, fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as 5 weeks on, long before women might know they are even pregnant.
As Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out, “six weeks pregnant equals two-weeks late on your period.”
“Most of the men writing these bills don’t know the first thing about a woman’s body outside of the things they want from it. It’s relatively common for a woman to have a late period + not be pregnant. So this is a backdoor ban”, she wrote.
Georgia is only the latest state to take this strict approach to abortion laws, with states such as Ohio and Kentucky taking similar drastic actions in recent years.
Although the legislation excludes cases involving rape, incest and health complications for the mother, pro-choice advocates argue this move is a clear undermining of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
President of Planned Parenthood America, Dr. Leana Wen commented on the bill, writing: “This legislative session could turn out to be the most harmful for women’s health in decades. It’s no coincidence: with Trump in the White House and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, anti-women’s health politicians are pushing an extreme agenda to take away all access to safe, legal abortion.”
Chief counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, Elisabeth Smith, remains confident that this bill will remain theoretical however, writing: “bans like this have always been blocked by courts. We will be suing Georgia to make sure this law has the same fate.”
Alongside the Centre for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Southeast have promised to ensure the bill is not passed by challenging it every step of the way.
Kemp stated that the bill was “common sense” and tweeted his defence, writing: “We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state.”