Atlanta City Council members condemn Supreme Court’s abortion ruling

Council member Liliana Bakhtiari prepares to take her seat on the dais as the Atlanta City Council held their first in person meeting since they were suspended at start of the pandemic In Atlanta on Monday, March 21, 2022.   (Bob Andres / robert.andres@ajc.com)

Credit: robert.andres@ajc.com

Credit: robert.andres@ajc.com

Council member Liliana Bakhtiari prepares to take her seat on the dais as the Atlanta City Council held their first in person meeting since they were suspended at start of the pandemic In Atlanta on Monday, March 21, 2022. (Bob Andres / robert.andres@ajc.com)

Atlanta City Council member Liliana Bakhtiari declared that pregnant people in America now have fewer rights than guns after the U.S. Supreme Court went against public opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday morning.

The Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion that existed nationwide for nearly 50 years. Activists and liberal lawmakers expect half of the nation’s states to enact abortion bans after the court’s conservative majority overturned the landmark ruling.

Georgia is poised to ban abortion in most cases once a doctor detects fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy. It could go into law in the coming months after a court review.

A person looks at materials at the National Right to Life booth at the National Right to Life Convention at the Airport Marriott Hotel in Atlanta on Friday, June 24, 2022. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called the ruling a “historic victory for life.” But Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said he was “sickened” by the decision, and in a Friday afternoon press release, six of Atlanta’s 16 council members also condemned the court’s decision.

City Council President Doug Shipman said he’s “deeply saddened.” Council member Jason Winston said this could disproportionately affect women of color and every woman who lacks the resources for a safe abortion.

Council member Jason Dozier said he feels indignant. Council member Amir Farokhi called it “a tragic day.” Council members Keisha Sean Waites and Bakhtiari said the decision threatens their right to choice and privacy.

All six officials called on lawmakers to protect women, while promising to do their part as powerbrokers in Atlanta’s legislative body.

“It is our job as public servants to do everything we can to protect people’s lives and that’s exactly what this is,” said Bakhtiari in front of Atlanta City Hall, joined by Shipman, council member Michael Julian Bond, and several activists. “Survival should not be partisan.”

The Atlanta City Council requested earlier this month that Atlanta police make investigations into abortions their “lowest possible priority” if Roe v. Wade was overturned. In a statement, the Atlanta Police Department said they remain focused “on bringing justice to violent criminals, getting illegal guns and drugs off the streets,” as well as protecting residents and visitors.

If the appeals court agrees to let Georgia’s “heartbeat” law take effect, Bakhtiari said Atlanta could not stop state authorities from enforcing the law against those seeking to have or perform an abortion.

But Bakhtiari also said the council’s resolution urges the city to not invest funds toward the criminalization or penalization of people seeking abortions. Bakhtiari also said they want to donate at least $300,000 to nonprofits that fund and support access to safe abortion services.

“As a queer person, engaged to be married, this cuts even deeper, and also fuels my drive to fight,” Bakhtiari said. “This is a dark day, but it is not the last day.”