Friday evening inside the State Capitol, the Georgia State Senate passed HB 481, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act. Also known as “the heartbeat bill”, HB 481 would prohibit most abortions once a doctor detects a heartbeat in the womb, usually six weeks into a pregnancy and most often times before women know they are pregnant. Current Georgia law allows abortions to be performed after 20 weeks.
“Let’s talk facts. Currently Georgia’s abortion law outlaws abortion after 20 weeks gestational age – this despite the fact that a baby born at 20 weeks cannot survive outside of a woman’s uterus,” said State Senator Jen Jordan as she delivered the Democrats dissent. “And yes I said uterus, not womb. Peri-viability, also referred to as the limit of viability, is defined as the stage of fetal maturity that ensures a reasonable chance of extra-uterine survival. With active intervention, most infants born at 26 weeks and above, at this point in time, have a high likelihood of survival, and virtually none below 22 weeks will survive.
“We keep talking about six-weeks pregnant. You know what that means? That means that maybe the woman is about one to two weeks late after an expected menstrual period”, Jordan explained. “And, yes, I am talking about stuff I don’t want to talk about in this chamber, but let me tell you something. If you’re going to get into the most private areas where women are, then you’re going to have to listen to it.”
Governor Brian P. Kemp praised State Republicans for passing the bill 34-19, along party lines.
“Today, the State Senate affirmed Georgia’s commitment to life and the rights of the innocent unborn. I applaud the members who supported the heartbeat bill’s passage for protecting the vulnerable and giving a voice to those who cannot yet speak for themselves,” said Governor Kemp. “I look forward to working with the House to ensure this legislation’s final passage in the coming days.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood are among the lobbyists that will protest.
As the legislative session wraps up next week, “the heartbeat bill” is expected to be debated in the Georgia State House. If it passes, Governor Kemp is expected to sign the bill into law immediately, ensuring HB 481 becomes one of the stringent abortion laws in the country, if it is not brought into question via higher courts.