Georgia Passes One of the Strictest Abortion Laws in the Country.

This past week, the Georgia state legislature passed a bill that endangers the lives of its citizens and unfairly restricts Georgia residents’ rights to make decisions about their personal body autonomy.

The bill in question is a severely restrictive abortion bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, and has therefore been colloquially referred to as the “heartbeat bill”. The issue with this heartbeat bill is that a fetal heartbeat can begin to be detected as early as six weeks, which is long before most women even know that they are pregnant. Therefore, this bill effectively bans all abortions in the state of Georgia.

Protestors channeling the characters from the handmaid’s tale, a dystopian novel where women loose their rights to make personal choice.

The bill will go into effect once it is signed by Georgia’s conservative Governor, who has praised the bill. Once the bill receives his signature, it will be the law of the land in Georgia.

It is expected to face an inevitable court challenge; however, while the judicial process runs its course, women in Georgia will be forced to deal with the repercussions of this deplorable bill.

One of the biggest issues that I have with this bill is the fact that it disproportionately impacts low income Americans. People who have money can afford to travel out of state to obtain an abortion if needed. However, for people who live paycheck to paycheck, they may not be able to afford travel costs, missed work days, and childcare expenses — thus prohibiting them from seeking an abortion.

I believe that women have the right to make choices that work best for themselves and for their families. It is deplorable that the legislature in Georgia is trying to strip away a woman’s personal right to have autonomy over her own body. Although some site the personhood of a fetus and point to the presence of heartbeat, the truth is that a fetus at 6 weeks is less than the size of a pea and cannot survive outside of the uterus.

I understand that some people believe that life begins at conception and have moral or religious objections to abortion. However, I simply feel that abortion is such a personal and nuanced issue, that it is best decided upon by a woman and her doctor, not by politicians seeking to score points with some of their constituents.

Protestors of this bill at the Georgia State Capitol.

If this bill becomes law, it will likely be challenged in court. This will require the state of Georgia to pay for lawyers to mount a case that is difficult to win, given that there is a precedent of heartbeat laws being struck down in other states. Instead of wasting taxpayer money on this publicity stunt, the Governor of Georgia could put the funds towards endeavors which would benefit all the people of the state.

Also concerning is the potential for backlash from an important contributor to the state’s economy: the entertainment industry. For the past few years, Georgia has been third in the nation for revenue from the movie and entertainment industry. Famous projects, such as the Marvel movies and the tv show Stranger Things, have all been filmed in Georgia, bringing a much needed source of income to the state and employing countless individuals. Many of the major players in the film industry, including George Clooney, Alec Baldwin and Amy Schumer, have already announced that they will not work in Georgia if this law is passed.

This loss of funds from the movie industry will certainly reverberate throughout Georgia and have an impact on many in the state. The support of the Governor and state legislature for such a detrimental bill is truly unfortunate. It is my hope that the Court system will strike down this bill, to ensure that women in Georgia, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have the right to their own personal healthcare choices.