Abrams pans ‘short-sighted’ biz response to Ga. abortion bill

Stacey Abrams gave the Democratic Party’s rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. In prepared remarks, she used the opportunity to highlight the way she and Republican leaders worked together in Georgia’s Legislature while slamming the president for engineering the recently ended 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Stacey Abrams gave the Democratic Party’s rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. In prepared remarks, she used the opportunity to highlight the way she and Republican leaders worked together in Georgia’s Legislature while slamming the president for engineering the recently ended 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Corporate powers and business groups explode in outrage each time a “religious liberty” measure surfaces in Georgia. Stacey Abrams wants to know why a bill that would outlaw most abortions isn’t triggering the same reaction.

The Democrat on Tuesday called on the powerful coalition to rally against House Bill 481, which would ban most abortions as soon as doctors can detect a heartbeat – as early as six weeks.

“It’s very short-sighted for the business community not to be engaged right now,” said Abrams. “Because once this bill is signed into law, that becomes the reputation of Georgia.”

The groups sprang into action in late February when a Senate Republican introduced a religious liberty measure he designed to win Gov. Brian Kemp's approval. Within days, the push was abandoned after it became clear the measure wouldn't emerge from committee.

But business boosters have said little about the abortion bill, which has earned support from Kemp and other Republican leaders. The governor, for one, said the restrictions preserve the sanctity of life and help uphold his campaign promises.

“I campaigned on signing the toughest abortion bill in the country,” he said, “and this is the toughest one we’ve got in the Legislature now.”

Abrams, speaking to supporters in Atlanta during a thank-you tour, heaped praise on Republicans who largely avoided “hot-button policies” over the last decade. But she said Kemp’s victory changed the dynamic.

“We are now wading directly into them. And the issue here is we do not often tie women’s autonomy to our economics. But they’re directly linked,” she said.

“And when women start saying, ‘I’m not moving to Georgia because they have this abominable bill stripping women of autonomy and their choices,’ we will see a result.”

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