The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the controversial “heartbeat” abortion law, or House Bill 481, which prohibits abortions once a doctor can detect a fetus’ “heartbeat,” which is typically six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant.
“Every woman has the right to choose,” Councilman Amir Farokhi, who sponsored the resolution, said in a news release. “It’s not a decision that the government or, frankly, men, have any business interfering with.”
Governor Brian Kemp signed it into law on May 7 and it’s set to go into effect Jan. 1. unless it is blocked by federal courts, citing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing women to have abortions until about 24 weeks into pregnancy.
The technical language of the law implies prosecutors could file murder charges against women who get abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected and doctors who perform them.
“No woman should live in fear of prison time or the death penalty for making a decision regarding her health,” Farokhi said. “Likewise, doctors should not fear imprisonment for doing their job.”
Similar bills have been passed in Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi. Georgia’s legislation comes as several metro Atlanta district attorney said they won’t prosecute women for getting an abortion.
Fulton County DA Paul Howard “has no intention of ever prosecuting a woman under this new law,” a spokesman said, adding that he would not prosecute abortion providers either.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said she will not prosecute given the “ambiguity and constitutional concerns” of the bill.
“As a woman and mother, I am concerned about the passage and attempted passage of laws such as this one in Georgia, Alabama, and other states,” she said in a statement.
— Staff writers Maya T. Prabhu and J.D. Capelouto contributed to this article.
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