Overturning of Roe v. Wade would jumpstart Georgia’s Heartbeat Law
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - If the U.S. Supreme Court removes the Constitutional right to abortion, as suggested in a leaked draft opinion published by Politico, it would pave the way for Georgia’s Heartbeat Law – one of the strictest abortion laws in the country – to take effect.
In 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law. It prohibits most abortions after a heartbeat can be detected in the womb, meaning as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy when many women aren’t even aware they’re pregnant.
Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth sponsored the bill in the Georgia General Assembly. “Our bill not only protected them [the unborn] from abortion but also gave them full rights as any other person,” Setzler said. “Under the Georgia bill, unlike any other bill in the nation, moms in utero could get child support from dads if the dad is not present. Parents you get a full tax exemption like any other family. If mom and dad are pregnant with their second child, they are four family members, not three family members.”
That law has yet to take effect because it was paused through an injunction order by a federal appeals court. If the Supreme Court indeed overturns the landmark 1973 abortion ruling Roe v. Wade, the Heartbeat Law likely would take effect soon afterward.
“If this opinion is in place and there are other motions that need to be filed I know the AG’s office is staying the course on this,” Setzler said adding that the heartbeat law may not take long to go into effect after a favorable Supreme Court ruling. “I think we can be proud that that would go into effect relatively shortly after across our state.”
Attorney General Chris Carr wrote in a statement to CBS46, “We will reserve comment until the U.S. Supreme Court has issued its official decision. In the meantime, we will continue to vigorously defend Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill in federal court.”
“This is the moment that so many of us have prayed for so many years,” said Suzanne Guy, president and founder of a Cherokee County-based nonprofit organization called Life Initiatives & Values.
For her, the rights of the unborn are personal.
“Three doctors insisted that my husband and I abort our daughter who is now 24 years old and doing great and leading the charge with pro-life,” said Guy.
She was thrilled to learn that the leaked draft opinion, though unconfirmed, appears to show the Supreme Court is poised to send decisions about abortion laws back to the states.
Abortion rights advocates are concerned abortion access is about to be extremely limited in nearly half the country.
Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, told CBS46, “the implications are absolutely seismic for women, their families, for everyone in Georgia.”
“Are you going to sit back as the rights of women and girls to control their lives, their bodies, and their destinies by a fascist majority on the Court?” asked Sunsara Taylor, spokesperson for a pro-choice group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. “Or are you going to raise your voice and raise hell and get in the streets and fight with all we’ve got to stop this from happening?”
Democrats were quick to seize on the abortion issue amid lackluster internal polling ahead of the midterm elections.
“I’ll always fight to protect a woman’s right to choose,” said U.S. Senator from Georgia Rafael Warnock, the lead pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.
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