U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Georgia 2020: Gillibrand treks to Atlanta to target ‘heartbeat’ bill 

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand will headline an Atlanta event on Thursday, where she plans to join a group of women leaders to assail the “horrific” anti-abortion measure that Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed into law.

Gillibrand, a U.S. senator from New York, is among a string of White House hopefuls who have criticized House Bill 481, which seeks to outlaw most abortions as soon as six weeks. Abortion rights groups have vowed to challenge the law in court before it takes effect next year.

It is Gillibrand’s first visit to Georgia since announcing her candidacy, and she joins a growing group of presidential contenders to trek to the state this year. Most other top contenders have visited, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is set to hold a town hall in Augusta this weekend. 

Gillibrand is using the Georgia law to spotlight dozens of other anti-abortion measures that have surfaced in state legislatures across the nation. Her campaign said she will “decry this inhumane and unconstitutional assault on reproductive rights.”

Other presidential candidates have zeroed in on the measure. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution it was a “full-frontal assault” on the Roe v. Wade decision. And former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he would “immediately” challenge the measure in court. 

Kemp and other conservatives made the legislation a top priority this year in hopes it will land before the U.S. Supreme Court and test the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

But the Republican is facing growing fallout from left-leaning critics, including Hollywood celebrities who have called for boycotts of the state. He was forced to postpone a trip to Los Angeles this week to court studio executives amid threats of protests. 

Gillibrand, who is struggling to break into the top tier of candidates, is set to join abortion providers, healthcare professionals and state lawmakers at the 11 a.m. event Thursday at the state Capitol. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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